global hunger index 2019

Global Hunger Index 2019. Global hunger index for the year 2019 has been released. As per the index, among 117 countries India stands at a position of 102. But for Afghanistan, India has performed worse than all of its neighbouring countries. Only some African countries are below India’s ranking.

About Global Hunger Index:

Global Hunger Index (GHI) indicates the level of hunger and undernutrition worldwide. It is jointly prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. There are four parameters used for calculating the hunger index:

  • Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished (insufficient caloric intake). In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.
  • Child wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition). Wasting means low weight for height. India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent—the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available. 
  • Child stunting: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition).  Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. India’s child stunting rate, 37.9 percent, is categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance. 
  • Child mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments)

Global Hunger Index 2019

Reasons for India’s dismal performance:

  • Practice of open defecation: Though the government has launched many programmes to eliminate practice of open defecation, there are still many places in the country where it is still in practice.  Open defecation leads to many diseases like- cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea etc. These diseases some times become fatal for children of small age group. Many states on paper have declared themselves Open Defecation Free. However, the claim is far from reality. As reported in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation’s National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19, there are still large number of households in states like Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir etc., who does not have access to toilets. Some steps like- construction of toilets in every household, mass awareness campaign regarding ill effects of open defecation, penalizing etc. may be taken to curb the practice. Monitoring at periodic intervals should be undertaken in places where open defecation is still in practice, to make sure the toilets are being used and are functioning properly. Necessary steps should also be taken to ensure that people do not leave the practice of using toilets.
  • Unavailability of nutritious food: Lack of intake of required level of nutrition leads to problems like stunting, wasting, reduced mental development etc. In India, a large portion of population cannot arrange for itself food for two times, let alone arranging nutritious food. Food security act, PDS scheme, mid-day meal schemes, food fortification etc. are some of many steps of Government for providing nutritious food to public below poverty line. However, corruption, unawareness, infrastructural problems are some of the bottlenecks, impeding the successful implementation of these schemes. Lack of nutrition in food, is not a problem in public below poverty line only. Many people who are well above poverty line also lacks proper nutrition in their diet. The reason may be attributed to modern lifestyle and lack of awareness. Mass media platforms like television, radio, internet etc. should be used to make people aware of eating unhealthy food. Habit of healthy eating should be inculcated in children in schools.
  • Lack of Immunization: India is yet to achieve its goal of universal immunization. Vaccines against diseases like polio, rotavirus, hepatitis etc. protect children from these diseases and hence reduce mortality. Lack of proper health care system, shortage of health care personnel, illiteracy etc. have been major hindrance in achieving universal immunization goal. Some steps like-
  1. Mass immunization drive,
  2. Awareness campaign,
  3. Identifying and tracking cases where programme could not reach and taking necessary action thereafter.

Global Hunger Index 2019

Human resource is the biggest asset of any country. If nurtured well they become instrumental in paving way for development, otherwise become burden. For India to become a world power it becomes imperative for it to take care of all the hurdles that come in way of development of its human resources.

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