Global Hunger Index for the year 2017

Global Hunger Index for the year 2017 ,India ranks 100 among 119 countries, down 45 positions since 2014

  • The 2017 GHI released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) termed India’s hunger levels ‘serious’ problem
  • The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
  • The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale. Zero is the best score (no hunger), and 100 is the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice.
  • Globally, the Central African Republic is ranked as the the sole country with ‘extremely alarming’ hunger with about 58 percent of its population living in a state of undernourishment over the past three years

The  component indicators used to calculate the GHI scores:

  1. Undernourishment:Updated data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) were used for the 1992, 2000, 2008, and 2017 GHI scores. Undernourishment data for the 2017 GHI are for 2014-2016.
  2. Child wasting and stunting: The child undernutrition indicators of the GHI—child wasting and child stunting—include data from the joint database of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank
  3. Child mortality: Updated data from the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation were used for the 1992, 2000, 2008, and 2017 GHI scores. For the 2017 GHI, data on child mortality are from 2015.

Some good news.

  • The level of hunger in developing countries decreased by 27 percent since 2000.
  • During the same period, GHI scores of 14 countries, including Senegal, Azerbaijan, Peru, Panama, Brazil and China improved by 50 percent or more.
  • Angola, Ethiopia and Rwanda—each experienced violent conflict in recent decades—were among 72 countries which improved their GHI scores between 25 and 49.9 percent, making progress from “extremely alarming” levels to “serious levels”.

India’s performance

  • India ranks 100th out of 119 countries on the global hunger index. India stood at 97th position in last year’s rankings.
  • Despite a massive scale-up of national nutrition-focused programmes, drought and structural deficiencies have left large numbers of poor in India at risk of malnourishment
  • The country’s serious hunger level is driven by high child malnutrition and underlines need for stronger commitment to the social sector.
  • However, India has made considerable improvement in reducing its child stunting rate, down 29% since 2000
  • The data from the report showed that India ranked lower than all its neighbouring countries – Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29) – except Pakistan, which has been placed at 106th in the global hunger list. And Afghanistan (107).
  • Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings


  • India’s high ranking on the Global Hunger Index again this year brings to the fore the disturbing reality of the country’s stubbornly high proportions of malnourished children.
  • India has more than a fifth (21 percent) of its children wasted (weigh too little for their height),and over a third are too short for their age.
  • Even with the massive scale up of national nutrition-focused programmes in India, drought and structural deficiencies have left large number of poor in India at risk of malnourishment in 2017.

Way ahead:

  • India has developed and launched an action plan on ‘undernourishment free India’ by 2022.
  • The plan shows stronger commitment and greater investments in tackling malnutrition in the coming years.
  • The GHI report comes after the latest 2015-16 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and cities three points of concern for child nutrition from the NFHS.
  • First, the availability of solid food with breast milk for young children (when they transition from exclusive breastfeeding) declined from 52.7% to 42.7%.
  • Second, the proportion of children between 6 and 23 months who received an adequate diet was 9.6%.
  • Third, no more than 48.4% of households had access to improved sanitation facilities

♦ Pradeep Gautam


The Hindu.
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