For a variety of reasons, including reliance on outdated data, flawed methodology, and the declining credibility of global institutions, the conclusions of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021, which have downgraded India and placed it below Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and other South Asian countries, need to be challenged.
The study uses four variables to measure hunger on a global and regional level: malnutrition, child wasting (low weight for height), child stunting (low height for age), and child death.
India is ranked 101st out of 116 nations in the survey, well below many other South Asian countries. It has a 27.5 rating. On the other side, 18 countries have a score of less than 5. (the lower the score, the better the country is supposed to have performed). While India has declined from 94 to 101 in 2020, Sri Lanka (65), Bangladesh (76), Nepal (76), and Pakistan (92) have performed significantly better.
The GHI should be called into doubt for the following reasons: The results for the indicators “prevalence of wasting in children under five years” and “prevalence of stunting in children under five years” are based on government data from 2016 to 2018. They do not, for better or worse, represent the scenario in 2021.
Furthermore, the methodology utilised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), whose data the GHI relies on, is suspect, since it is based on a Gallup telephone opinion survey. Furthermore, the pollster asked questions on employment status during Covid-19, loss of job or company, and loss of earnings. Despite the fact that the government and other agencies were successful in mounting a large effort to ensure that people had access to vital food supplies throughout the epidemic, the respondents were never questioned whether they got food assistance. Similarly ludicrous is the fact that, whereas the scientific study of malnutrition would include weight and height measurements, the GHI relied on a Gallup survey-based only on telephone estimations.
Other concerns that occur as a result of the GHI rankings are listed below. The majority of the leading 18 nations in the GHI rankings were in the 5 or 5.5 level in 2000 and have maintained their position. China, which had a score of 13.3 in 2000, has improved dramatically and today has a score of less than 5. Is this supported by evidence? This issue must be asked in light of the unusual events that have occurred at the WHO since China orchestrated the election of the candidate it favoured as Secretary-General.
Where does GHI get its data for the four indicators, and how does it get it? The WHO, World Bank, UNICEF, FAO, and other UN and multinational organisations, as well as “authors’ estimations,” are cited in the paper.
Why is it noteworthy that so many UN agencies and the WHO were involved in the production of this report? The data given by China or obtained from Beijing by UN agencies and approved by GHI must be scrutinised with a fine-toothed comb. This comes in the wake of the horrific World Bank incident, in which top bank officials ensured that data from China for Ease of Doing Business was fudged in order to raise the country’s ranking.
This affair should make India very wary of any report or review coming from UN organisations. The World Bank stopped publishing the rankings when the fraud was exposed by an independent audit. The audit revealed that World Bank executives, including the President and Chief Executive Officer, tampered with the rankings. They ordered data tampering in order to restore China’s drop in the rankings from 78 to 85.
Details regarding how China prevented a full investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus in Wuhan, as well as the Director-apparent General’s reticence to call out Beijing for its non-cooperation, are very alarming. Given these changes, how trustworthy is the WHO data, which was utilised by those who finalised the GHI rankings?
The GHI study, which aims to discredit India, follows in the footsteps of other international organisations that have criticised the country’s long-standing democratic traditions. When one considers the shortcomings in the methodology used by the organisations that created the GHI study, one is reminded of the absurdities that were evident in the Press Freedom Index made by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris and the Democracy Report 2020 issued by V-Dem in Sweden.
According to the RSF research, several theocratic regimes and countries lacking in essential democratic principles have more press freedom than India. The Maldives, where only Muslims are allowed to become citizens and Sharia law reigns supreme, is said to be a greater “democracy” and a country with more press freedom than India. There are many of instances like these in these papers, demonstrating that they are agenda-driven.
Furthermore, since increasing its support for the United Nations, China has been attempting to arm-twist the international organisation and its institutions. Despite India’s position in vaccine manufacturing, the WHO has refused to certify India’s indigenous Covaxin, which has been delivered to 112 million people and is believed to be effective. Thousands of Indians who need to go overseas for personal or business reasons are suffering as a result of this. The WHO is dragging its steps at whose request?
As a result, the moment has come to call out so-called “global” reports and examine the activity of international organisations.