International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), on Friday, published the Global Hunger Index of 2020, which revealed that India is in the category of" serious severity scale. Among the 107 participating countries, India ranks 94th position. GHI is globally used to measure and track hunger at regional, national and international levels and is valued under four indicators like undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality.
India continues to remain as a poor performer in child wasting with an official rate of 17.3%. Child wasting defines the share of children under the age of five who have low weight compared to their height which conveys as a sign of acute undernutrition. According to the study, 14% of India's population is undernourished. Reports state that India is poorer at inadequate food supply for both children and adults. India also recorded an alarming child stunting rate of 37.4%.
"Historically, India has always been a poverty inflicted country. Now given the lockdown imposed by COVID-19, except the salaried class from the formal sector, all the others are living on their last year's income and have been suffering from severe deprivation. The package which the government delivers to all the families as a lockdown relief has been utterly insufficient and therefore, this data is not surprising", Dr.Jerome Samraj, Development Economics Professor at Pondicherry Central University shared his thoughts with Madhyamam.
"Unless the government strengthens the public distribution system again, we cannot elevate people from their poverty and deprivation, Jerome further added.
Whereas, the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan have received 75th and 88th ranks, respectively. The Global Hunger Index uses five severity scales to examine the situation of countries' provisionally, which involves' extremely alarming', alarming', 'serious', 'moderate' and 'low' category of severity measures. India has got a 27.2 score in GHI severity scale spectrum, thus eventually included under 'serious' scale. No other countries are in the condition of extreme alarming scale whereas Chad, Madagascar and Timor-Leste have been listed in the alarming categorical scale.
The report also states that India has a high record of child mortality rate, which measures the mortality rate of children under the age of five that reflects the fatal mix of unhealthy environment and inadequate nutrition.
The Global Hunger Index states that "Even though India experienced a decline in this period, child mortality caused by prematurity and low birth weight has increased particularly in poorer states and lower India. Prevention of prematurity and low birth weight will be helpful to India as key factors to reduce the under-five mortality in India".