Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 4th September 2023



Today’s Topics List:

  1. Measuring Hunger across states – Global hunger index

  2. Students of Andhra Pradesh – Local Quota status.

  3. Global hunger Index

  4. Northern Plains of India – Pollution



Measuring Hunger across states – Global hunger index

    • We can see a dichotomy in the scheme of things when it comes to food in India, despite being major food producer with extensive food security schemes and largest Public Distribution System in the world, India still grapples with significant level of food Insecurity, Hunger and Child Malnutrition.

The Global hunger Index: 2022

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI), 2022, ranked India 107among 121 countries, behind Nigeria (103) and Pakistan (99).
  • The GHI provides a composite measurement and tracks undernourishment and hunger at the national level across three dimensions:
    • calorie undernourishment,
    • child malnutrition, and
    • under-five mortality.

Hunger across states:

  • According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report of 2022, India is home to 224.3 million undernourished people. 
    • Disparities are evident among States. 
    • Leveraging subnational data that encompasses the three dimensions of the GHI enables the development of an India-specific hunger index at the level of States and Union Territories. 
  • This plays a pivotal role in evaluating the extent of undernourishment at a more localised scale, which is critical for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating hunger and malnutrition.

The State Hunger index

  • The GHI is computed using four indicators —
    • The prevalence of calorie undernourishment
    • And of stunting
    • Wasting, and mortality among children below the age of five;
    • And under-five mortality rate. 
  • The State Hunger Index (SHI) is calculated using the same indicators except calorie undernourishment.
    • It is replaced by body mass index (BMI) undernourishment among the working-age population, as data on calorie undernourishment are not available since 2012.
    • Data for stunting, wasting, and mortality among children below the age of five are sourced from the fifth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5)
    • While the prevalence of BMI undernourishment is computed using NFHS-5 (2019-21) and Wave 1 of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (2017-18).
  • The calculation of the SHI score involves combining the normalised values of the four indicators using the techniques recommended by the GHI.
  • The SHI scores range between 0 and 100, with higher scores indicating more hunger.
    • Scores below 10 signify low hunger,10-20 moderate, 20-30 serious, 30-40 alarming, and 50 or above extremely alarming.

Findings of the SHI:

  • Alarming Category:
    • Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh scored 35, which places them in the ‘alarming’ category. 
    • Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, and West Bengal all scored above the national average (29).
    • The performance of these States resembles that of African nations such as Haiti, Niger, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • Moderate Hunger Category
    • Chandigarh scored 12, and Sikkim, Puducherry, and Kerala all scored below 16. 
    • These States, along with Manipur, Mizoram, Punjab, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Tamil Nadu, fall under the ‘moderate hunger’ category. 
  • Serious Hunger Category
    • All the other States, which scored below the national average and above 20, have a problem of ‘serious hunger’.
  • Low Hunger Category
    • No State falls under the ‘low hunger’ category.

Analysis of the index and its figures:

  • Over the last half a decade, India’s GHI score has deteriorated primarily due to the increasing prevalence of calorie undernourishment. 
    • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the proportion of calorie undernourishment in India has been escalating since 2017, reaching 16.3% in 2020, equivalent to the 2009 statistic.
  • While the GHI has faced significant criticism from experts regarding its conceptualisation, indicator selection, and aggregation methods, it does provide critical insight into the state of undernourishment and child nutrition. 
    • India’s poor performance in the GHI is primarily attributed to its high prevalence of undernourishment and child malnutrition. 
    • India ranks unfavourably in child wasting, performing worse than many low-income African nations.
    • The NFHS-5 indicated that one-third of children under the age of five are stunted and underweight, while every fifth child suffers from wasting. 

                   Despite India’s notable progress in alleviating extreme poverty over the last 15 years, as indicated by the recent National Multidimensional Poverty Index, challenges persist in addressing the disparity in food insecurity, hunger, and child malnutrition




Students of Andhra Pradesh – Local Quota status.

    • The teaching fraternity and the student community in Andhra Pradesh fear the prospect of losing ‘local quota’ in educational institutions.
    • Why such a fear?
      • Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, which had come into force in May 2014 is valid only for 10 years.
      • So, the rules and regulations formulated prior to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh will not hold good after May 2024.

Article 371 D

  • This Article has been incorporated in the year 1973 as a part of 32nd Constitutional Amendment Act.
  • It was promulgated to safeguard the rights of students in education and employment, especially in Andhra Pradesh, due to a spate of agitations in 1970s.
    • Telangana was known as Osmania University region ;
    • Regions from Srikakulam to Prakasham was known as Andhra University Region;
    • Rayalaseema and Nellore Districts were tagged under the Sri Venkateswara University region.
  • In all these regions 85% of the seats were reserved for local candidates under Article 371 D.
  • What is the concern?
  • With no such constitutional cover in the future, the local students of all regions stand to lose.
    • A similar threat in 2015, under G.O No 129 bracketing 120 seats in the SVIMS run Sri Padmavati Medical college for women under the Open Category.
    • This allowed the allocation of seats to students across the state.
  • This G.O. was revoked by Supreme Court with the aid of Article 371 D.
    • With its absence, in future, it is feared that students will be helpless



Global hunger Index

Global Hunger Index:

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels, reflecting multiple dimensions of hunger over 
    • The GHI is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger.
    • Provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions.
    • Call attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest.
  • It is calculated by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

How is it Calculated?

  • Each country’s GHI score is calculated based on a formula that combines four indicators that together capture the multidimensional nature of hunger:
    • Undernourishment: the share of the population with insufficient caloric intake.
    • Child Stunting: the share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
    • Child Wasting: the share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.
    • Child Mortality: the share of children who die before their fifth birthday, partly reflecting the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy 

Important aspects of Global hunger Index

  • The indicators included in the GHI formula reflect caloric deficiencies as well as poor nutrition.
  • The undernourishment indicator captures the food access situation of the population as a whole.
  • while the indicators specific to children reflect the nutrition status within a particularly vulnerable subset of the population
    • Here, a lack of dietary energy, protein, and/or micronutrients (essential vitamins and minerals) leads to a high risk of illness, poor physical and cognitive development, and death.
  • The inclusion of both child wasting and child stunting allows the GHI to document both acute and chronic undernutrition.
  • By combining multiple indicators, the index minimizes the effects of random measurement errors.
  • These four indicators are all part of the indicator set used to measure progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 




Northern Plains of India – Pollution


  • Data from the Air Quality Index 2021 shows that failure to meet the World Health Organization (WHO’s) guidelines on reducing PM 2.5 pollution to less than 5 µg/m3 would cut global life expectancy by 2.3 years.
    • The people of the Northern Plains, which is home to a population of 521.2 million people, or 38.9% of India’s total population, reside in areas where the annual average particulate pollution levels are 17.3 times higher than the WHO guideline.
  • The Northern Plains:
  • The Northern Plains of India are home to the world’s 50 most heavily polluted regions, according to a report by the University of Chicago.
    • The report said that the majority of this region, encompassing seven states and Union territories including Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, bears the highest health burden attributable to particulate pollution in India.
  • Fine particulate air pollution, known as PM2.5, has been found to reduce the average life expectancy of an Indian citizen by 5.3 years when compared to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended guideline of 5 µg/m3.
    • In North India, this particulate pollution is even more severe, cutting lives short by eight years, according to the report.
    • Shockingly, from 1998 to 2021, the average annual particulate pollution has surged by 61%, further diminishing life expectancy by 3.2 years.
  • In the most polluted region of the Northern Plains, namely the National Capital Territory of Delhi, its 18 million inhabitants are facing a potential loss of 11.9 years of life expectancy relative to the WHO guideline.
    • And 8.5 years relative to the national guideline, should current pollution levels persist.
  • Delhi ranks as the most polluted cityin India and across the globe.
  • Even in the least contaminated district within the region, Pathankot, which is in Punjab, particulate pollution levels exceed the WHO guideline by more than sevenfold, thereby shortening life expectancy by 3.1 years if current levels persist.

Causes for Air pollution:

  • Every year, following Diwali, a surge in cases of respiratory problemsand other health emergencies is reported, largely attributed to the significant increase in pollution resulting from the burning of firecrackers.
  • the burning of farm stubble in neighbouring states, industrial emissions, pollution from vehicles, and seasonal weather.

Measures taken:

  • In 2019, India initiated the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) as part of its “war against pollution”.
  • Initially, NCAP aimed to decrease particulate pollution by 20-30% nationwide by 2024, focusing on 102 cities failing to meet India’s PM2.5 standards.
  • However, in 2022, the government revisedits pollution reduction target under NCAP.
  • It didn’t set a national goal, but instead, it set an ambitious city-level target of a 40% reduction by 2025-26 for an expanded list of 131 non-attainment cities,
  • Achieving this target would lead to a 21.9 µg/m³ reduction in annual average PM2.5 exposure relative to 2017 levels, resulting in a 2.1-year increase in life expectancy for citizens in these 131 cities, and a 7.9-month increase for the average Indian nationwide.

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