India on Sunday termed the 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report an "erroneous measure of hunger" and claimed it "suffers from serious methodological issues", after its ranking slipped to 107th out of 121 countries.
A press note issued by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development said that the GHI report is not only disconnected from reality, but also "deliberately ignores efforts made by the government to ensure food security", especially during the Covid pandemic. "Three out of the four indicators used for calculation of the index are related to health of children and cannot be representative of the entire population," the ministry said.
In 2021, India was ranked 101st. Its current 107th position places it behind neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Seventeen countries, including China, Turkey and Kuwait, shared the top rank with GHI scores of less than five.
Questioning the sample size of the survey conducted for the GHI report, the Indian ministry said: "The fourth and most important indicator of Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3,000."
Terming the GHI report as a "one-dimensional view", the ministry said though the matter was taken up with FAO [Food and Agricultural Organisation] and an assurance was forthcoming, "the publication of the report, irrespective of such factual considerations, is regrettable".
The note from the Ministry of Women and Child Development also raised serious doubts about some of the questions asked by the surveyors to respondents in India.
The ministry said: "It is evident such questions do not search for facts based on relevant information about the delivery of nutritional support and assurance of food security."
It added that calculating hunger based primarily on health indicators of children is "neither scientific nor rational".