India is ranked 94 out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020. Experts blame poor implementation, lack of effective monitoring, siloed approach in tackling malnutrition and poor performance by large states behind the low ranking of the country. Neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan have fared better than India. While India fights the menace of coronavirus millions of children are going to bed hungry. Approximately 14 percent of India's population is undernourished. Malnutrition is endemic in India.
Covid-19 pandemic alongside the economic downturn is exacerbating food and nutrition insecurity for millions of people. The existing hunger crisis is caused by conflict, climate extremes, and economic shocks. GHI 2020 reports emphasise on food insecurity and undernutrition that are severe. Food Insecurity has put the country's population at a greater risk of chronic hunger in the near future. This year India continues to do poorly in the GHI report. Food Security for many Indians still remains a distant dream.
WHAT IS GHI?
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool that is designed to measure and track hunger globally. The GHI is calculated annually, and its reports are issued in October each year. Many countries have achieved reduction in hunger since 2000, but in some countries hunger still persists and it has even worsened. The 2020 Global Hunger Index report presents a multi-dimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger by assigning a numerical score based on several aspects of hunger. It ranks & compares all the countries with their past and present GHI scores. The GHI report includes a brief of hunger status in all the countries individually.
According to the 2020 report, "One Health" approach is adapted to link health and sustainable food systems with the aim of achieving Zero Hunger by 2030. The Global Hunger Index that tracks hunger and malnutrition reflects India's score of 27.2. India is the worst among BRICS countries. It falls in the "serious" category of Hunger.
HOW GHI IS CALCULATED?
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) calculates GHI scores each year to assess progress, or the lack thereof, in combating hunger. The Global Hunger Index measures Hunger on a scale of 100 points, with 0 being the best score and 100 being the worst. The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger. GHI is determined by four indicators - undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality. The pandemic has increased the vulnerabilities of the world's food system. Therefore, it is almost impossible to achieve the Zero Hunger by 2030 goal. A One Health approach, which is based on a recognition of the interconnections between humans, animals, plants, and their shared environment, as well as the role of fair trade relations, would address the various crises we face holistically and help avert future health crises, restore a healthy planet, and end hunger.
CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING ZERO HUNGER
There are many factors that influence food security: Poverty and climate change are the two major challenges. Climate is an important factor because it influences agriculture, change in temperature, rainfall, it increases the frequency of extreme events, and creates unfavourable conditions for food production. Food wastage is another important factor for achieving zero hunger as it undermines the efforts to end hunger and malnutrition. According to food and agriculture organisations, the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes of primary product equivalents. Therefore, ending food waste is also a big challenge in order to achieve zero hunger by 2030.