The Global Hunger Index (GHI) does not reflect India's true picture as it is a flawed measure of hunger, the government said on Friday.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said the India's ranking is 101st in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 brought out by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. Nepal and Bangladesh are ranked 76 and Pakistan is at the 92nd place, she said.
As per the GHI report, the composite GHI scores of India have improved from 38.8 in 2000 to 27.5 in 2021. Thus, the country has shown consistent improvement over the years. "The calculation of GHI is based on four indicators - Undernourishment, Child Stunting, Child Wasting and Child Mortality. Global Hunger Index (GHI) does not reflect India's true picture as it is a flawed measure of 'Hunger'," Jyoti said. Only one indicator, which is undernourishment, is directly related to hunger, she added.
"The two indicators i.e. stunting and wasting are outcomes of complex interactions of various other factors like sanitation, genetics, environment. and utilisation of food intake apart from hunger which is taken as the causative/outcome factor for stunting and wasting in the GHI. "Also, there is hardly any evidence that the fourth indicator i.e. child mortality is an outcome of hunger," the minister said.
Sadhvi highlighted that the government has enacted the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 which provides for coverage of up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population, thus addressing the hunger alleviation of the bottom 67 per cent of the population, which at Census 2011 is at a maximum of 81.35 crore persons.
Identification of beneficiaries under the Act is under two categories -- households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households. The Priority Households are entitled to receive 5 kg foodgrains per person per month and AAY households are entitled to receive 35 kg per household per month at Rs 1-3 per kg for coarse grains/wheat/rice respectively.
"The Act is operational in a seamless manner across all States and Union Territories. The coverage under the Act is substantially high to ensure that all the vulnerable and needy sections of the society get its benefit," she said.
The Centre has also issued advisories to all states to identify and cover the weakest sections of the society under TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System) and launch special drives to issue ration cards to them up to the respective NFSA coverage limits, the minister added.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), scheme under which beneficiaries covered under NFSA are given additional 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month free of cost, has been extended for another four months, that is from December 2021 to March 2022, she highlighted.
-With PTI Inputs