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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

Congress targets Modi govt after India falls to 111th rank in Global Hunger Index

India's poor ranking in the Global Hunger Index shows that today the country is facing a serious situation of hunger and starvation. Like every time, the Modi government will distance itself from these figures...it is certain, says the Party President

PTI New Delhi Published 13.10.23, 07:59 PM

TTO Graphics.

The Congress on Friday targeted the Narendra Modi government over India's "poor ranking" in the Global Hunger Index (GHI), asking whether 74 per cent of Indians are not able to afford a healthy diet due to backbreaking price rise.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge cited data from the National Health and Family Survey 2019-2021 and Indian experts to say that 57 per cent of women, aged between 15 and 49 years, are anaemic.

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"The Modi government is allergic to any critical global data, but even Indian data says that our people are going hungry. The Modi government can deny that India's rank in the Global Hunger Index slipped from 107th out of 121 countries in 2022 to 111th out of 125 countries in 2023.

"But would they deny the following -- Is it not true that 35.5 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted? Which means their height has not grown with their age. Is it not a fact that 19.3 per cent of children in India are wasted? Which means they weigh less than the national average for their height. Is it incorrect that 57 per cent of our women, aged between 15 and 49 years, are anaemic," he asked in a post on X.

India ranked 111th out of 125 countries in the GHI-2023, which was rejected by the government as erroneous and having malafide intent.

The index, released on Thursday, also stated that India has the highest child-wasting rate in the world at 18.7 per cent, reflecting acute undernutrition.

The Congress also posted on its X handle: "India has fallen further down in the ranking of Global Hunger Index. Now India has come to 111th position. Till last year it was at 107th position." "India's poor ranking in the Global Hunger Index shows that today the country is facing a serious situation of hunger and starvation. Like every time, the Modi government will distance itself from these figures...it is certain," the party said in a post in Hindi.

Congress president Kharge also accused the government of slashing food subsidy.

"Is it untrue that in the Modi government's Budget 2023-24, food subsidy saw an astounding decrease of 31.28 per cent - that is, one-third of its funds were slashed? Is it not a fact that 74 per cent of Indians were not able to afford a healthy diet due to backbreaking, food-snatching price rise imposed by the BJP." "It is another story that even the Global Hunger Index, which is scrutinised by experts is based on food balance sheets reported by us - India and is even used for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the Modi government now does not accept it," he said.

"The Modi government can also claim that food grains are being distributed to 80 crore Indians - but according to experts, even that number is short of a whopping 14 crore people, because Census 2021 is indefinitely delayed,” he alleged.

Kharge claimed it was the Congress-led UPA government which had brought the Food Security Act, 2013, but the BJP had opposed it then.

"The nation has not forgotten the then CM Modi's shameful remark on our Gujarat girls and malnutrition," he said, apparently referring to his alleged remark attributing the state's high rates of malnutrition to "vegetarianism and figure-conscious Gujarati girls".

According to the Global Hunger Index, the rate of undernourishment in India stood at 16.6 per cent and under-five mortality at 3.1 per cent.

India ranked 107th out of 121 countries in the 2022 edition of the GHI, a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional and national levels.

With a score of 28.7 in the GHI-2023, India has a level of hunger that is “serious”, according to a report based on the index.

India's neighbouring countries Pakistan (102nd), Bangladesh (81st), Nepal (69th) and Sri Lanka (60th) have fared better than it in the index.

South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara are the world regions with the highest hunger levels, with a GHI score of 27 each, indicating serious hunger.

"India has the highest child wasting rate in the world, at 18.7 per cent, reflecting acute undernutrition," the report based on the index stated. Wasting is measured based on children's weight relative to their height.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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