India is ranked 111th out of 125 countries in the 2023 Global Hunger Index released on Thursday.
The country scored 28.7 on a scale of 100 where 0 is the best score and 100 is the worst. The index, published by non-governmental organisations Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, categorised India’s severity of hunger as serious.
The Global Hunger Index score is calculated on four indicators – undernourishment, child wasting (the share of children under the age of five with low weight for their height), child stunting (children under the age of five with low height for their age) and child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).
The NGOs said that the report can only be compared to 2000, 2008 and 2015 as data is revised each year and the set of countries included in the ranking changes.
India’s score of 28.7 this year was only a slight improvement from the 2015 figure of 29.2. However, the score improved substantially compared to the figures of 35.5 in 2008 and 38.4 in 2000.
As per this year’s index, India fares worse than all its neighbours except Afghanistan. Pakistan is ranked 102nd on the list, Bangladesh 81st, Nepal 69th and Sri Lanka 60th.
The only countries that fare worse than India include, besides Afghanistan, the Carribbean nation of Haiti and 12 sub-Saharan African countries.
However, for the third year in a row, the Indian government attributed India’s low ranking on the index to a flawed methodology. The Ministry of Women and Child Development claimed that the index was an erroneous measure of hunger and suffered 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 ministry said. “The fourth and most important indicator ‘Proportion of Undernourished population’ is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000.”