The government has rejected the 2023 Global Hunger Index in which India ranked 111th, calling it a flawed measure of "hunger" that does not reflect the country's true position.
The Women and Child Development Ministry said the index suffers from "serious methodological issues and shows a malafide intent". India ranked 111th out of 125 countries in the Global Hunger Index-2023, released on Thursday, with the country reporting the highest child wasting rate at 18.7 per cent.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
Rejecting India's ranking at the index, the Women and Child Development Ministry said the Global Hunger Index continues to be a flawed measure of "hunger" and does not reflect India's true position.
"The index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues. Three out of the four indicators used for calculation of the index are related to the health of children and cannot be representative of the entire population. The fourth and most important indicator 'Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population' is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3,000," it said.
The ministry said that since April 2023, the measurement data of children under five years uploaded on the Poshan Tracker has consistently increased - from 6.34 crore in April 2023 to 7.24 crore in September 2023.
"The percentage of child wasting, as seen on the Poshan Tracker, has been consistently below 7.2 per cent, month-on-month, as compared to the value of 18.7 per cent used for child wasting in the Global Hunger Index 2023," the ministry said in a statement.
According to the index, the rate of undernourishment in India stood at 16.6 per cent and under-five mortality at 3.1 per cent.
The ministry further said two other indicators, namely 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— child mortality—is an outcome of hunger, it said.