Friday, October 14, 2022

World Food Day 2022: India Tops Hunger Charts in South Asia

India ranks 107th for hunger among 121 nations. The nation fares worse than all of its South Asian neighbors except for war-torn Afghanistan ranked 109, according to the Global Hunger Index 2022. Sri Lanka ranks 64, Nepal 81, Bangladesh 84 and Pakistan 99. India and Pakistan have levels of hunger that are considered serious. Both have slipped on the hunger charts from 2021 when India was ranked 101 and Pakistan 92.  Seventeen countries, including Bosnia, China, Kuwait, Turkey and UAE, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.

South Asia Hunger Rankings. Source: GHI/IASScore

India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height), at 19.3%, is worse than the levels recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and even 2000 (17.15), and is the highest for any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population, according to The Hindu newspaper. The child hunger situation has gotten worse since Mr. Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister of India in 2014.  Earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi offered to "feed the world" in the aftermath of the Ukraine war.  Within weeks of this pledge he ended making an about-face.  On World Food Day 2022, the United Nations World Food Program has warned of another year of global record hunger looms amid food and climate crisis. 

India Hunger Trends. Source: GHI

Pakistan Hunger Trends. Source: GHI

Pakistan has a score of 26.1 and ranks 99th out of the 121 countries on Global Hunger Index rankings. India's GHI score is 29.1 and it ranks 107th. Hunger could worsen in Pakistan in the aftermath of the worst-ever flooding that has destroyed wheat and rice crops in southern Sindh province. Flood waters have not yet drained from the fields and standing water is preventing planting of the Rabi (winter) crop now. Here's an excerpt of USDA Food and Grain report on the wheat situation in Sindh:

"Farmers normally begin planting the wheat crop in mid-October and November in Sindh and Punjab, respectively. Sindh province usually accounts for almost twenty percent of national wheat production. However, large areas of Sindh typically planted to wheat are still submerged, and it may be several months before the flood waters recede. With Sindh’s flat terrain, poor drainage, and current high-water table, flood waters are receding slowly. As a result, seeding the 2023/24 wheat crop in Sindh is likely to be delayed and some areas may possibly remain unseeded. Even where the waters recede, farmers are likely to face difficulties in wheat planting as the floods washed away on-farm wheat seed stock in many areas. Additionally, farmers’ purchasing power in the affected areas is severely compromised making it difficult for them to buy fertilizers and other inputs".  

The number of hungry people around the world has shot up from 282 million to around 345 million since the beginning of 2022, and by mid-year, according to the United Nations World Food Program. “We are facing an unprecedented global food crisis and all signs suggest we have not yet seen the worst”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “For the last three years hunger numbers have repeatedly hit new peaks. Let me be clear: things can and will get worse unless there is a large scale and coordinated effort to address the root causes of this crisis. We cannot have another year of record hunger”.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producers

Pakistan Floods 2022

Food in Pakistan 2nd Cheapest in the World

India in Crisis: Unemployment and Hunger Persist After COVID

Impact of Russia Sanctions on Food, Fuel Availability

Record Number of Indians Seeking Asylum in US

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid19 Crisis

Incomes of Poorest Pakistanis Growing Faster Than Their Richest Counterparts

Pakistanis Consuming More Calories, Fruits & Vegetables Per Capita 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

COVID Lockdown Decimates India's Middle Class

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

How Has India Built Large Forex Reserves Despite Perennial Trade Deficits

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Thanks for sharing this , we agree that India does have so many issues but pls also note that how much progress India has made over the years in different fields . Pls see where ISRO(Indian Space Agency ) stands and pls compare it with SUPARCO(Space Agency of Pakistan ).

Also pls see where India stands in IT Industry specially in GLOBAL CYBER SECURITY INDEX , and pls see where Pakistan stands in this index .

Pls also compare India and Pakistan in index of human development .

So we must face the reality , the world doesn’t really care about internal or domestic issues of India but what the world actually sees is that how much India is making progress and how much benefit it is providing to the world in different fields like science , technology and etc .

Pls take the example of ISRO(Indian Space Research Organization ) , they have a launching pad which they use to launch satellites of different countries in space and just imagine how much ISRO earns by launching these satellites of different countries in space ? ISRO launches these satellites at special price which is much lower than what NASA and other space agencies of the world charge to launch such satellites in space .

Pls also compare India and Pakistan in tourism , their was a time when many tourists use to visit Pakistan but what about now ?

Their was a time when Pakistan was ranked better than India in Human Development index specially during and before 2010 but what about now ?

Have Pakistanis ever realised why and how India left Pakistan behind in different fields ?

Have Pakistanis ever realised what is pulling them from making progress in different fields?

Pls don’t mind but we must be honest with ourselves Sir .


Riaz Haq said...

The Hindu
Just in | Government again rejects Global Hunger Index which ranks #India 107 among 121 countries, says it is "an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues." |

Riaz Haq said...

In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, Pakistan ranks 99th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. With a score of 26.1, Pakistan has a level of hunger that is serious.

In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 107th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. With a score of 29.1, India has a level of hunger that is serious.


India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.

India ranks 107th among 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index, in which it fares worse than all countries in South Asia barring war-torn Afghanistan.

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels. GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators — undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality. Countries are divided into five categories of hunger on the basis of their score, which are ‘low’, ‘moderate’, ‘serious’, ‘alarming’ and ‘extremely alarming’.

Based on the values of the four indicators, a GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger, where zero is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.

India’s score of 29.1 places it in the ‘serious’ category. India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.

Seventeen countries, including China, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.

India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height), at 19.3%, is worse than the levels recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and even 2000 (17.15), and is the highest for any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population.

Prevalence of undernourishment, which is a measure of the proportion of the population facing chronic deficiency of dietary energy intake, has also risen in the country from 14.6% in 2018-2020 to 16.3% in 2019-2021. This translates into 224.3 million people in India considered undernourished.

But India has shown improvement in child stunting, which has declined from 38.7% to 35.5% between 2014 and 2022, as well as child mortality which has also dropped from 4.6% to 3.3% in the same comparative period. On the whole, India has shown a slight worsening with its GHI score increasing from 28.2 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2022. Though the GHI is an annual report, the rankings are not comparable across different years. The GHI score for 2022 can only be compared with scores for 2000, 2007 and 2014..

Globally, progress against hunger has largely stagnated in recent years. The 2022 GHI score for the world is considered “moderate”, but at 18.2 in 2022 is only a slight improvement from 19.1 in 2014. This is due to overlapping crises such as conflict, climate change, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine war, which has increased global food, fuel and fertiliser prices and is expected to "worsen hunger in 2023 and beyond."

The prevalence of undernourishment, one of the four indicators, shows that the share of people who lack regular access to sufficient calories is increasing and that 828 million people were undernourished globally in 2021.

There are 44 countries that currently have “serious” or “alarming” hunger levels and “without a major shift, neither the world as a whole nor approximately 46 countries are projected to achieve even low hunger as measured by the GHI by 2030,” notes the report.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

We agree that India has many issues but do you really think that by focusing on issues of India , we will be able to resolve issues of Pakistan ?

Sorry for this but do you really think that by focusing and discussing issues of India , we will make progress in different fields ?

What is the progesss of Pakistan in cyber security or IT security ?

Just imagine how smart Indians are that they are seeking and taking help from Isreali IT industry to improve their ranking in Global Cyber Security index , have hopeless and emotional people of Pakistan ever realised how much they can benefit in the field of technology and science of Pakistan starts having diplomatic relations with Israel?

I have seen some videos on YouTube of Pakistani politician sheeren mazari I think and she said that what benefits will Pakistan have by having relations with Isreal ?Just imagine the kind of pathetic mindset our politicians have , they don’t even know where Isreal stands in the field of science and technology and specially in the field of IT .

Most of the inventions and discoveries in the world were made by Isreali innovators , researchers and scientists .

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

How much benefits have Pakistan recieved by supporting Arab countries ?

How much has Arab countries specially Saudia Arabia spend their wealth in the education and health sector of Pakistan ?

Anonymous said...


I think Riaz Sb., is doing a good job by showing the real face of India.

Indian media always shows negative picture of Pakistan, he is just doing the same but numbers and stats.

He also shows (badly needed) positives of Pakistan.

Nothing wrong with it.

G. Ali

Anonymous said...

This index is a scam based largely on “Opinion polls” and non adapted data South Asians are smaller than Europeans that doesn’t mean we are stunted or wasted.Also the calorie consumption source isn’t being separated western children consume more fizzy drinks than water.Are these calories being removed and the data calibration done?

But see the difference:India is openly contesting this result and threatening legal action

Pakistan which is also shown extremely poorly is doing nothing,in fact is celebrating because it is shown to be marginally better than India.

Any doubt which country is more successful and globally respected ?

Ahmed said...

Dear Mr. Ali

Thanks for your comments , no doubt Sir Riaz is doing a great job , we all appreciate that , no one including me is denying what he is doing . The kind of information or data which he Mashallah provides is something which is not easily accessible on internet or neither it is shown by news channels and other well known sources of media .

But the fact remains that Pakistanis actually turn their blind eyes towards their own weaknesses and defects and are not really ready to accept them .

We are seriously lagging behind India in several indexes , pls check it on internet . Except for poverty index , women and minority rights index , can you pls tell me in which index is Pakistan really ahead of India ?

Sir pls note that I am talking about productive indexes , productive indexes according to my limited understanding and knowledge are those indexes which actually show the overall performances of different countries in different fields of knowledge .

Pls compare the ranking of Pakistan with India in the following indexes :





5) Index of hotel and hospitality .

Ahmed said...

Sir Ali

These real faces of India which Sir Riaz is trying to portray actually show the internal and domestic problems of India . They are not actually hindering the performances and progress of India in different fields .

The question is that does international community or United Nation really and seriously cares about internal issues of India ?

Unless and until India is providing cheap and skilled labour to different countries and is providing softwares and IT enabled services at much lower cost .

Unless and until the ISRO(Space Agenct of India) is really providing launching pad for the satellites of other countries at much lower price to these countries . The international community or UN would not really care about these internal problems of India .

Ahmed said...

Mr. Ali

Many learned Americans and Western people might be aware of these internal problems which India is facing but have you seen any country specially developed country which has shown concern over these issues of India ? Has Microsoft , Google and Facebook stopped investing in the IT sector of India ?

The reason why investment doesn’t stop in India is because Indian politicians are sincere with their country and they can convience the world specially these companies to invest in India .

How many times Pakistani politicians have contacted Google ,Microsoft , and Facebook and have convienced them to invest in Pakistan ?

See what Indian soldiers are doing in Kashmir since many decades . International community specially UN is quiet aware of what Indian soldiers are doing in Kashmir and UN and few other countries have shown concern over issue of Kashmir but see how cleverly Indian politicians put a cover over all what Indian soldiers are doing in Kashmir and try to hide their defects and see how diplomatically Indian politicians inspite of all this are able to turn the decisions of International community in their favour .

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Thanks for sharing this , we agree that India does have so many issues but pls also note that how much progress India has made over the years in different fields . Pls see where ISRO(Indian Space Agency ) stands and pls compare it with SUPARCO(Space Agency of Pakistan )"

Just having an advanced space program does not help ordinary Indians. Please compare India with other nations which also have similar programs and you'll find that all of them rank very high on basic indicators like education, health, nutrition, etc.

Ahmad: "Indian politicians are sincere with their country and they can convience the world specially these companies to invest in India"

MPs with criminal cases increased in last decade

The share of MPs with criminal and serious criminal cases increased to 43% and 29%, according to an analysis of 539 winners in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. To be sure, at least some of such cases are politically motivated.

India most corrupt country in Asia

India has emerged as having the highest bribery rate of 39 per cent in the Asian region and the highest rate of people (46 per cent) who used personal connections to access public services, according to a recent survey-report released by Transparency International, a global civil society organisation.

"Nearly 50% of those who paid bribes were asked to, while 32% of those who used personal connections said they would not receive the service otherwise," read the report.

Riaz Haq said...

The White Tiger: An Incisive Social Commentary on Religion, Caste, Class and Democracy in India

Few films about India offer the kind of incisive social commentary that the recently released "The White Tiger" does. Based on a novel of the same name by Aravind Adiga, it tells the story of a poor but ambitious young man from a village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The film touches on religion, caste, class and democracy in India. It is directed by Iranian-American director Ramin Bahrani and now available on Netflix.

The movie opens with a scene showing Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) looking back at his life. It follows up with a series of long flashbacks to tell his story. Along the way, Balram sarcastically compares India's democracy with China's sanitation system. “If I were in charge of India, I’d get the sewage pipes first, then the democracy.” Numerous scenes in the film illustrate poor sanitation in India by showing Balram and others squatting and defecating in the open.

Singh said...

India has a nutrition problem. The methodology used for the evaluation clearly helps us understand why India would be rated so low. Average Indian diet has to be fortified with micronutrients and protein for a balanced meal. Poor people in India simply eat rice or wheat and cannot afford or do not have the practice of consuming adequate meat and vegetables. Recently there was a video that showed some school children fed with only rice and salt by the school's mid day meal program. Under such conditions, this ranking is not a surprise

Watch: "Myth & reality of India's hunger as we slip to 107th place out of 121 nations on Global Hunger Index"

The Global Hunger Index 2022 saw India's position slip to 107 out of 121 countries. According to the 2022 report, India is behind Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan & Bangladesh. Watch Episode 295 of #CutTheClutter from 20 October 2019, where Shekhar Gupta analyses the parameters & indicators, myth & reality of India's hunger and the distinction between nutrition & hunger.(Originally published on 20 Oct 2019)

Riaz Haq said...

The title of the UNDP paper is "Unpacking Deprivation Bundle". Below is an excerpt from it:

"The analysis first looks at the most common deprivation profiles across 111 developing countries (figure 1). The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of poor people, includes deprivations in exactly four indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing.7 More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators.8 Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile "

Also note in this UNDP report that the income poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) in Pakistan is 3.6% while it is 22.5% in India and 14.3% in Bangladesh.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Thank you for your reply , I was reading one of your last comment in which you said that in ISRO(Indian Space Research Organization ) , most of the electronic equipments and data analysis and data processing devices which are used were imported from America .

Sir can you pls provide a link to the of news to support this post of yours ?


Anonymous said...

Dear Ahmed, nobody is denying Pakistan's shortcomings or India's achievements. However, you must remember that
1: in 1947 India was already 6th largest economy in the world, with companies like Bharat aeronauticals in existence. Whereas Pakistan couldn't even produce toothpaste.
2: India at the very beginning had great leadership that set the course right and created stability. In Pakistan, unfortunately not a single PM has completed a five year term.
3: India's progress is very much tilted in the favor of rich and upper middle class, just compare the Gini index of two countries.

G. Ali

Riaz Haq said...

The headline multidimensional poverty (MPI) figures for Pakistan (0.198) are worse than for Bangladesh (0.104) and India (0.069). This is primarily due to the education deficit in Pakistan. UNDP's report titled "Unpacking Deprivation Bundle" shows that an average Pakistani still enjoys a better "standard of living" than his/her counterparts in Bangladesh and India. Below is an excerpt from it:

"The analysis first looks at the most common deprivation profiles across 111 developing countries (figure 1). The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of poor people, includes deprivations in exactly four indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing.7 More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators.8 Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile "

Also note in this UNDP report that the income poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) in Pakistan is 3.6% while it is 22.5% in India and 14.3% in Bangladesh.

Living standards (Cooking fuel Sanitation Drinking water Electricity Housing Assets) of the poor in Pakistan (31.1%) are better than in Bangladesh (45.1%) and India (38.5%).

Pakistan fares worse in terms of education (41.3%) indicators relative to Bangladesh (37.6%) and India (28.2%).

In terms of health, Pakistan ( 27.6%) fares better than India (32.2%) but worse than Bangladesh (17.3%).

In terms of population vulnerable to poverty, Pakistan (12.9%) does better than Bangladesh (18.2%) and India (18.7%)

Ahmed said...

Dear Mr.Ali

Thanks for the comment , I am surprised that even in 1947, India was 6th largest economy in the world ? Can you pls provide a link of source to prove this claim?

Also can you pls explain what is Gini index ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Ahmed,

You should be able to Google both. An economist might be able to explain Gini index better than I can.

G. Ali

Riaz Haq said...

Multidimensional poverty index ( does not include income poverty)

What does the MPI measure?

The MPI identifies overlapping deprivations at the household level across the same three dimensions as the Human Development Index (living standards, health, and education). It shows the incidence of poor people in a population and the intensity of deprivations with which poor households contend. For details see Alkire and Santos 2010, 2014. Read more about the MPI methodology here.

What makes a household “multidimensionally” poor?

One deprivation alone may not represent poverty. The MPI requires a household to be deprived in multiple indicators at the same time. A person is multidimensionally poor if he or she is deprived in at least one third of the weighted indicators (see below for definitions of ‘severe’ poverty and ‘vulnerable’ to poverty).

Why is income not included?

We could not include income due to data constraints. Income poverty data come from different surveys, and these surveys often do not have information on health and nutrition. For most countries we are not able to identify whether the same people are income poor and also deprived in all the MPI indicators. Therefore, we could not include income.

How was the MPI created?

The MPI was created by Alkire and Santos and other researchers at OPHI, who applied a new technique developed by Sabina Alkire and James Foster to over 100 developing countries. Read more about the Alkire Foster method for multidimensional measurement.

The MPI is described as a measure of acute poverty. How does this differ from extreme poverty?

The MPI reflects the severe deprivations that people face at the same time. Because it was designed to compare acute poverty across developing nations, it is most relevant to less developed countries. We have described the MPI as a measure of ‘acute’ poverty to avoid confusion with the World Bank’s measure of ‘extreme’ poverty that captures those living on less than $1.90 a day.


What are the new thresholds for each indicator?

The new threshold for nutrition includes BMI (Body Mass Index)-for-age, and stunting as well as underweight for children. For child mortality, it considers whether a child has, sadly, perished in the household in the last five years preceding the interview date. For years of schooling, the new threshold requires six years, rather than five years, of schooling. A household is deprived in the housing indicator if the floor is made of natural materials; or the roof or walls are made of natural or rudimentary materials. Finally, the assets indicator now includes ownership of computers and animal carts. More info here.

Why was the original MPI modified?

The global MPI was originally created in 2010 and much has changed in the past eight years! Most notably, the new global MPI takes into consideration the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed upon in 2015. The new version also builds on an innovative MPI, trialed since 2014, and newly available data to include cut-offs that were not possible in 2010.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

Thanks for your reply , Sir I have a question . How is Pakistan better than India in the index of health ? According to some news sources , many Pakistanis are going to India for medical treatment specially for treatment of liver, according to some sources , in some hospitals of India , they have skills and expertise in treatment of liver transplantation and because in hospitals of India liver transplantation is cheaper and the doctors their are qualified .

Doesn’t this show that Indian medical centres and hospitals are much better than those of Pakistan ?

Can you pls throw some light on this ?


Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Doesn’t this show that Indian medical centres and hospitals are much better than those of Pakistan?"

These are for-profit private hospitals which average ordinary Indians are not able afford.

Riaz Haq said...

#PakistanFloods could increase #poverty by 2.5 to 4.0 percentage points as a direct consequence of the #floods, with adverse human development effects in disaster-affected areas in #Sindh, #Balochistan. #Pakistan

The World Bank says the national poverty rate in Pakistan could increase by 2.5 to 4.0 percentage points as a direct consequence of the floods, with adverse human development effects in disaster-affected areas.

The size and duration of shocks will vary across locations and households, depending on the intensity of the flooding as well as the quality of relief and reconstruction efforts, the World Bank says in its latest ‘Macro Poverty Outlook for Pakistan’ released during the course of ongoing IMF-World Bank annual meetings.

According to the outlook made available on Saturday, the high inflation and devastating floods will have an adverse impact on poverty. While rising prices reduced the real purchasing power of all households, the floods primarily affected rural areas in Sindh and Balochistan where poverty rates are already high.

Poor households are more dependent on agricultural income and spend a larger share of their income on food, and therefore will be disproportionally affected by the loss of harvest and assets like housing and livestock, and rising prices, the report notes.

The economic outlook and prospects for overdue adjustment have been significantly affected by the floods. Agricultural output is expected to decline sharply, with losses to cotton, date, wheat, and rice crops. Nearly a million livestock is estimated to have perished.

Cotton losses are expected to weigh on the domestic textile industry and the wholesale and transportation service industries. Public relief and limited reconstruction activities are expected to partially offset the loss in activity.

Real GDP growth is therefore expected to slow to 2.0 percent in the fiscal year 2023 but recover to 3.2 percent by the fiscal year 2024, supported by a recovery in agricultural production, reconstruction efforts, and projected lower global inflationary pressures.

Due to higher energy prices, flood disruptions, and the weaker rupee, inflation is projected to rise to 23.0 percent in the fiscal year 2023 but moderate over the forecast horizon with declining international energy prices and resolution of flood-related supply constraints.

Despite flood-associated effects, the current account deficit is expected to narrow slightly to 4.3 percent of GDP in the fiscal year 2023 with slower domestic economic activity and is projected to shrink further in 2024 as exports recover from flood impacts.

In line with fiscal consolidation efforts, the fiscal deficit is projected to contract modestly to 6.8 percent of GDP in FY23, despite negative revenue impacts from the flooding and increased expenditure needs. The fiscal deficit is expected to gradually narrow over the medium term as revenue mobilization measures, particularly GST harmonization and personal income tax reform, take hold.

With rapid nominal GDP growth, public debt as a share of GDP is projected to decline gradually over the forecast period, despite continued primary deficits. The macroeconomic outlook is predicated on the IMF-EFF programme remaining on track.

The outlook notes that despite an economic rebound in FY21 and fiscal year 2022, persistent structural weaknesses of the Pakistani economy, such as low productivity growth due to low investment and exports, are hindering a sustained recovery.

Expansionary Covid-related macroeconomic policies supported aggregate demand that has contributed to pressures on domestic prices, the external sector, the exchange rate, and foreign reserves. In response, the Government, amid the ongoing monetary tightening, passed a contractionary 2023 budget and reversed unsustainable energy price subsidies.

Riaz Haq said...

Old data, changing methodology — why number of Indians under poverty line is a mystery
India's official poverty estimates are more than a decade old. A consumption expenditure survey was last conducted in 2017-18 but its findings were never accepted by the govt.

Last year, the NITI Aayog had released its Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which said that about one in every four Indians (25 per cent) was living in poverty. Unlike estimates mentioned earlier that focused largely on consumption expenditure, the MPI takes into account factors such as sanitation, schooling, access to drinking water, cleaner fuel etc.

How many Indians moved out of poverty?
The NSO, which conducts the crucial CES, falls under the purview of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). According to a Press Information Bureau (PIB) release from earlier this year, year-long field work for the 2022-23 consumption expenditure survey was initiated by the central government in July.

The central government also conducts the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), through which it defines beneficiaries of poverty alleviation schemes.

However, India does not have up-to-date data for either of these surveys.

ThePrint reached MoSPI via phone and email for a response on when results of the latest CES will be published, but did not receive a response at the time of publication. This report will be updated when a response is received.

“Both the SECC and CES [latest data] are more than 10 years old, so, as of today, we do not know how many Indians have entered poverty and how many have moved out,” said Sen.

Human development economist Santosh Mehrotra added that consumption expenditure survey “has been used consistently for decades while revising poverty estimates and absence of this data means the government is denying itself an exact count on how many people are poor in this country”.

“I don’t think the results of the survey will be out before the 2024 elections. It could be consequential for the government as increase in poverty tarnishes its image of being effective in providing for the poor. In 2019, CES was leaked and then junked because it showed this government in poor light,” he told ThePrint.

Mehrotra also said that absence of poverty data may not impact the government’s policy decisions about programmes aimed at poverty reduction.

“This government’s policy decisions are dependent on political objectives. It keeps denying itself the actual poverty numbers and keeps reintroducing its free food grain scheme as elections near. I doubt if the absence of data is any hindrance in its public policy since it doesn’t want to believe in real data.”

Riaz Haq said...

Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on UNDP-Oxford Multidimensional Poverty (MPI) 2022 Report:

Riaz Haq said...

Global Multidimensional
Poverty Index 2022

A special section of this report highlights trends
over 15 years in India, where the number of poor people dropped by about 415 million. The poorest states
reduced poverty the fastest, and deprivations in all
indicators fell significantly among poor people. Poverty among children fell faster in absolute terms, although India still has the highest number of poor
children in the world (97 million, or 21.8 percent of
children ages 0–17 in India).6


In India 415 million people exited poverty between 2005/06 and 2019/21, demonstrating that
the Sustainable Development Goal target 1.2 of
reducing at least by half the proportion of men,
women and children of all ages living in poverty in
all its dimensions according to national definitions
by 2030 is possible to achieve—and at scale. The
poorest states and groups (children, lower castes
and those living in rural areas) reduced poverty the
fastest in absolute terms, although the data do not
reflect post-Covid-19 pandemic changes.
• Of the 81 countries with trend data, covering
roughly 5 billion people, 72 experienced a statistically significant reduction in absolute terms in MPI
value during at least one of the periods analysed.
• Addressing poverty requires better data. The infrequency of household surveys makes it difficult to
assess the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
on poverty. The data revolution must not leave the
collection of poverty data behind.


Table 1 at the end of the report presents global MPI estimates using the latest surveys available at the time of
computation. The year of the surveys ranges from 2010 to 2020/2021. This edition provides updated estimates for
12 countries, including India, and introduces estimates for three countries.2 The 2022 estimates are based on Multiple
Indicator Cluster Surveys for 54 countries, Demographic and Health Surveys for 45 countries and national surveys
for 12 countries. For 83 countries, home to 81.3 percent of poor people, data were fielded in 2016 or later—after the
Sustainable Development Goals were adopted. Of these, 35 countries, home to 37.1 percent of poor people, have
data fielded in 2019 or later. Harmonized trends are presented for 81 countries using data from 2000 to 2020/2021.
Of these, 35 countries have data for three points in time, and one country, Gambia, has data for four.
Although most data predate the COVID-19 pandemic, they nevertheless offer a reference point for measuring the
pandemic’s impact on poverty.


The analysis first looks at the most common deprivation profiles across 111 developing countries (figure 1).
The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of
poor people, includes deprivations in exactly four
indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and
More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators.8
Of those people,
34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh
and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile (figure 2).
The four deprivations in this bundle are embedded in other poverty profiles too. Beyond the
45.5 million poor people who are deprived in only
these four indicators, 328.9 million poor people are
deprived in these four indicators and others. Of the
374.4 million poor people deprived in these four indicators (some of whom are deprived in others),
224.8 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa, 122.9 million are in South Asia and 26.7 million are in other

Riaz Haq said...

Multidimensional poverty MPI Pakistan 2022

Table A compares multidimensional poverty with monetary poverty measured by the percentage of the population living below 2011 PPP US$1.90 per day. It shows that monetary poverty only tells part of the story. The headcount or incidence of multidimensional poverty is 34.7 percentage points higher than the incidence of monetary poverty. This implies that individuals living above the monetary poverty line may still suffer deprivations in health, education and/or standard of living. Table A also shows the percentage of Pakistan’s population that lives in severe multidimensional poverty. The contributions of deprivations in each dimension to overall poverty complete a comprehensive picture of people living in multidimensional poverty. Figures for Bangladesh and India are also shown in the table for comparison.


What is the global Multidimensional Poverty Index?
Sustainable Development Goal 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. The global
Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measures acute multidimensional poverty across more than 100
developing countries. It does so by measuring each person’s overlapping deprivations across 10 indicators
in three equally weighted dimensions: health, education and standard of living (see figure). The health and
education dimensions are based on two indicators each, while standard of living is based on six indicators.
All the indicators needed to construct the MPI for a country are taken from the same household survey.
Each indicator is equally weighted within its dimension, so the health and education indicators are weighted
1/6 each, and the standard of living indicators are weighted 1/18 each. The MPI is the product of the
headcount or incidence of multidimensional poverty (proportion of people who are multidimensionally poor)
and the intensity of multidimensional poverty (average share of weighted deprivations, or average
deprivation score,1 among multidimensionally poor people) and is therefore sensitive to changes in both
components. A deprivation score of 1/3 (one-third of the weighted indicators) is used to distinguish between
the multidimensionally poor and nonpoor. If the deprivation score is 1/3 or greater, the household (and
everyone in it) is classified as multidimensionally poor. Individuals with a deprivation score greater than or
equal to 1/5 but less than 1/3 are classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty. Finally, individuals
with a deprivation score greater than or equal to 1/2 live in severe multidimensional poverty. The MPI ranges
from 0 to 1, and higher values imply higher multidimensional poverty. The MPI complements the
international $1.90 a day poverty rate by identifying who is multidimensionally poor and also shows the
composition of multidimensional poverty.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmed Jamal Pirzada
Doesn't look good for Pak: the human capital index has stayed flat since 2005. While "avg years of schooling" has increased from 4 years in 2000 to 6 years in 2015 (Barro-Lee dataset), the quality has not improved. Worse, the gap with regional countries has increased since 80s.

Riaz Haq said...

The Centre’s rejection of India's latest GHI ranking does not obscure the challenge we face.

For the second year in a row, India’s government has rejected the Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranking published by two international organizations: Concern Worldwide, an aid agency, and Welthun-gerhilfe, a non-profit entity, based, respectively, in Ireland and Germany. Their annual GHI report, which is peer reviewed, has been published for the past 17 years. India was ranked No. 107 out of 122 countries, below Bangladesh (at No. 84), Nepal (81), Pakistan (99) and Sri Lanka (64). Last year, India was No. 101 out of 116 countries. The government’s petulance stems from two reasons. One is that three of the four metrics forming the index use malnutrition data on children, i.e. wasting, stunting and premature mortality. Only one of the four metrics is on malnourishment, not malnutrition, and not even hunger. So how can the index based mainly on data for children be representative of the entire population? The second objection is about the sample size, which is 3,000. That is too low and not representative, according to the government. Some in government have even attributed mala fide intent to the publishers, who they say are more keen to taint India’s image than publish objective statistics. This is unfortunately becoming a routine ploy of discrediting adverse reports by either blaming the messenger or mongering conspiracy. This certainly won’t help, and India seems to be the only country upset about the GHI scores.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Are Some Countries Happier Than Others

To ponder the question of happiness and happy countries, one can start with the World Happiness Index.

A quick perusal identifies several Scandinavian countries at the top (with Finland leading) and others also with high per capita GDP. Yet that alone is not sufficient for one also encounters anomalies. For example, India’s is higher than for Pakistan, but the latter is listed 66 in the index while India is almost hugging the bottom at 144. Moreover, the other major country in the subcontinent, Bangladesh, for all its turbulent history is still at 107 way ahead of India.

Other anomalies are South Korea and Japan at 62 and 63, far down the list from the other rich countries. Perhaps the cause here is a work ethic and social norms that informally require long hours at work coupled with expected socializing thereafter with colleagues.

Then there is the issue of inequality. One can indeed try to assess the impact of economic inequality through its measure, the Gini Coefficient expressed from 0 to 1. Sometimes it is written in percent terms as a number from 0 to 100 and it is then referred to as the Gini Index.

It matters little to the black South African that he earns more than other sub-Saharan Africans; what matters to him is his income in relation to others in South African society. It was an underlying cause of the riots last year in addition to the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma. The World Bank has named South Africa the most unequal country in the world.

Income inequality in the US has been on the rise since the 1970s when neo-liberalism in the Democratic party undermined the progressive taxes and regulations helping to bolster the middle class as well as safety nets for the poor. Who can forget how welfare was going to be replaced by ‘workfare’ and the stories, legion in the media, about families sitting at home getting ‘rich’ on welfare checks.

Yes, the rich got richer sheltering their money from taxes in the Cayman Islands or the Bahamas or the Isle of Man. Yet at the expense of the poor and the middle class with two-job families becoming the norm, and children in after-school programs because Mom wasn’t there to pick them up.

The World happiness Index summarizes what the neo-liberals achieved: the US is at the bottom of industrialized countries in North America and Europe. Of course an absence of a national health insurance program makes matters worse — it adds to worry, the antithesis of happiness.

An absence of worry, an absence of vast differences in income, social cohesion and a presence of a suitable safety net for when things go wrong. These appear to be the common denominators for happy countries.

And why not a Gross National Happiness (GNH) measure, as in Bhutan, in addition to the GDP. It is a philosophy that guides Bhutan.

Majumdar said...

You were the one who introduced us hapless Indians to the beauty and inclusiveness of the Multidimensional Poverty Index on chowk, Musings and PDF. Now, I guess that there is little chance of Pakistan ever catching up with IND or BD on MPI, presumably you will shift to farji indices like Happiness Index?

Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Now, I guess that there is little chance of Pakistan ever catching up with IND or BD on MPI, presumably you will shift to farji indices like Happiness Index?"

"farji indices like Happiness Index"? Not if you look at the declining labor participation rate (LPR) in India!

Both male and female LPR in India is now lower than in at least partly explains India's low ranking on Happiness Index.

Riaz Haq said...

Poverty in India:

India has rescued 415 million people from poverty in 15 years. This was stated in the new UN report on the "Multidimensional Poverty Index" (MPI), which analyzes the data collected between 2005 and 2021. The MPI, published jointly by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), notes that India continues to have the largest number of people in the world living below the poverty line (228 .9 million), followed by Nigeria (96.7 million), while the South Asian region as a whole, with its 385 million poor, follows sub-Saharan Africa, with 579 million destitute. While noting that, in general, the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed global progress in reducing poverty, the report notes that India as a nation over a period of 15 years, on this path of poverty reduction has obtained positive results.
In India, the report reads, there are 97 million poor children (data from 2021) which means that one in five children (21.8% of the total) suffers from poverty. According to the report, India is the only South Asian country where female-headed households are poorer than male-headed households (19.7% versus 15.9%) while 90% of the country's poor live in rural areas and 10% in urban areas.
Bihar remains the poorest state in the country, while the other 10 poorest states are Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan (West Bengal has dropped out of the top 10). The poor in India remain vulnerable due to rising food and fuel prices, the UN report emphasizes. "Policies that address the current nutrition and energy crises must be a priority. About 18.7% of the entire population of India is vulnerable to poverty.
However, the report also points to India's successes in lifting people out of absolute poverty: among the 415 million people, one group that benefits is children and youth aged 0-17.
"India is an important case study for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the first of which is to end poverty in all its forms and reduce the percentage of men, women and children in poverty by at least half by 2030", reads the UN Report.
In a scenario that shows some progress but remains dire in absolute terms, the recent "Global Hunger Index 2022" (GHI) ranks India 107th out of 121 countries, the second worst position, after Afghanistan, compared to the rest of the South Asian countries. India's score (index 29.1) places it in the "country with a serious hunger problem" category. The Global Hunger Index is an annual report published jointly by the NGOs "Concern Worldwide" and "Welthungerhilfe", designed to exhaustively monitor hunger in the world in order to implement actions and processes to reduce this situation of hunger. The GHI is based on the values of four indicators: malnutrition, child stunting, wasting and infant mortality.
On the occasion of World Food Day, on October 16, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that the number of people in conditions of food insecurity in the world has increased again, and there are now 828 million people in the world who do not have access to food, as noted in the 2022 report "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World".

Riaz Haq said...

The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. Pakistan's HDI value for 2021 is 0.544— which put the country in the Low human development category—positioning it at 161 out of 191 countries and territories.

Between 1990 and 2021, Pakistan's HDI value changed from 0.400 to 0.544, an change of 36.0 percent.

Between 1990 and 2021, Pakistan's life expectancy at birth changed by 6.0 years, mean years of schooling changed by 2.2 years and expected years of schooling changed by 4.0 years. Pakistan's GNI per capita changed by about 62.7 percent between 1990 and 2021.


Pakistan has dropped seven places in the Human Development Index, ranking 161 out of 192 countries in the 2021-2022 HDI, according to the UNDP report released on Thursday.

In the previous year, Pakistan had stood at 154 out of 189 countries.

As per the report, Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth is 66.1 years and expected years of schooling are 8. The country’s gross per capita national income is $4,624. The report has identified that different climate shocks are affecting world order, pushing back the growth that was achieved in the past few years. While doing so, it has categorised the floods in Pakistan as “an example of the climate shocks seen around the world.”

Switzerland leads the way on the latest HDI while Norway and Iceland enjoy second and third positions. Among the nine South Asian countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka -- only Pakistan and Afghanistan (180th position) are in the low human development category.

Bhutan (127), Bangladesh (129), India (132) and Nepal (143) are in the medium human development category. And crisis-riddled Sri Lanka has managed to improve its position by 9 points, reaching the 73rd position on the index, finding itself in the high human development category. Iran is three positions behind at 76; the next is Maldives at the 90th position.

The report, titled ‘Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World’ has found out that around 90 per cent of countries have seen “reversals in human development” in the year of the survey, pointing to a world stuck in a never-ending cycle of crisis after crisis, causing global disruptions. Per the report, the two major factors responsible for these disruptions were the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Human Development Index is a measure of countries’ standard of living, health and education. This is the first time in the last 30 years that human development in a majority of countries has gone in reverse for two consecutive years.

This has pushed human development to its 2016 levels, a huge blow to the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were meant to be completed by 2030. For the year 2021, the UN had projected an HDI value of 0.75 -- the actual value has come out to be 0.732.

The report adds that the world is in a “new uncertainty complex”. Such uncertainty is created by the two years of Covid-19 which saw a series of the lethal waves of the virus.

Even though the world took quick steps to defeat the virus, the report notes, and developed vaccines to counter the threats, unequal distribution of the vaccines has created more problems in a number of low-income countries.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns and school closures also took a toll on people’s mental wellbeing across the world. The report has found out that mental distress among male minority groups in the UK saw the largest increase, and men from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan were the most affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank report on Poverty-2022

Key findings of the report-

It stated that the world is unlikely to meet the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 absent history-defying rates of economic growth over the remainder of this decade.
By 2015, the global extreme-poverty rate had been cut by more than half. Since then, poverty reduction has slowed in tandem with subdued global economic growth.
The economic upheavals brought on by COVID-19 and later the war in Ukraine produced an outright reversal in progress.


India’s poverty levels-

Poverty has gone up in India too. Previous estimates suggested a poverty headcount rate at the US$1.90 poverty line of 10.4 percent in 2017.
The latest estimate based on Sinha Roy and van der Weide (2022) shows that poverty at the US$1.90 poverty line was 13.6 percent in 2017.
However, the report uses data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), because there are no official estimates of poverty available since 2011.
The most recent survey data released by the National Sample Survey Office of India used to measure poverty is the 2011/12 National Sample Survey (NSS). The government decided not to release the 2017/18 NSS round because of concerns about data quality.

Riaz Haq said...

September 2022 global poverty update from the World Bank: 2017 PPPs and new data for India

The PIP website also now includes five new rounds of survey data for India (2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20). These data are based on the work by Roy and Van der Weide (2022) who use household survey data from the Consumer Pyramids Household Survey (CPHS) conducted by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). With these new data, poverty in India has declined in recent years, but less than previously estimated (see Figure 2 here). Hence, the inclusion of the new data leads to an increase in the poverty rate in India and South Asia, as well as the world (more than offsetting the PPP impact described above). Earlier estimates suggested a poverty headcount rate at the $1.90 poverty line (and 2011 PPPs) of 10.4 percent in 2017, compared with 13.6 percent in Roy and Van der Weide (2022).

Riaz Haq said...

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday said the strong recovery in South Asia is expected to take a breather with India's economy expanding at 6.8% in FY23, revised down by 1.4 percentage points since the April 2022 World Economic Outlook, due to a weaker-than-expected recovery in the second quarter and subdued external demand.

A further slowdown of India's growth to 6.1% is expected in FY24 as external demand and a tightening in monetary and financial conditions weigh
on growth, the IMF said in its Regional Economic Outlook.

Noting that there have been "significant" portfolio outflows from Asia so far this year, it said at a regional level the scale of the outflows from Asian emerging markets is comparable to previous episodes such as the 2013 taper tantrum and the 2020 onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While strong outflow pressures have been focused on a handful of economies such as India, it said that recent data point to outflows having stabilised and partially reversed. "In the countries facing the most volatility in net portfolio flows, these seem predominantly driven by equity instead of debt flows (India, Thailand). These flows and the differentiation of equity prices have responded to changes in growth expectations," the IMF said.

As per the report, several Asian emerging market and developing economies have seen a decumulation of their international reserves-between 3-10% of their holdings in the first half of 2022 in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand-especially during periods of intense external financial shocks.

Most economies in Asia and Pacific, including Australia and India, are consolidating fiscal policy alongside monetary policy following substantial support during the pandemic, according to the outlook.

On the Russia-Ukraine war, it said the rise in crude oil, natural gas, coal and agricultural commodity prices in the first half of 2022 has been a negative terms-of-trade shock for most of the region and placed strain on the external accounts of large net importers in India.

The IMF also said India would need to spend 6.2% of gross domestic product each year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, and these resource requirements are compounded by less ess favourable debt dynamics.

Crypto currency
On crypto currency, the IMF said policy response should include investments to modernize digital payment systems-including cross-border integration-and the eventual issuance of central bank digital currencies.

India introduced a 30% tax on income derived from crypto trading and is currently developing a regulatory framework like many countries in the region.

"An important aspect of the policy response should include investments to modernize digital payment systems-including cross-border integration-and the eventual issuance of central bank digital currencies, which could offer consumers many of the benefits of crypto without the risks," it said.

The pandemic has accelerated digitalization around the world, including in many Asian emerging markets and developing economies, and e-commerce revenues have increased, with particularly rapid expansion in some emerging markets such as India and Indonesia.

Riaz Haq said...

From Times of India:

The decline in India’s rankings on a number of global opinion-based indices are due to "cherry-picking of certain media reports" and are primarily based on the opinions of a group of unknown “experts”, a recent study has concluded.
A new working paper titled "Why India does poorly on global perception indices" found that while such indices cannot be ignored as "mere opinions" since they feed into World Bank’s World Governance Indicators (WGI), there needs to be a closer inspection on the methodology used to arrive at the data.

The findings were published by Sanjeev Sanyal, member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and Aakanksha Arora, deputy director of (EAC to PM).

In the report, the authors conducted a case study of three o ..

In the report, the authors conducted a case study of three
opinion-based indices: Freedom in the World index, EIU
Democracy index and Variety of Democracy.
They drew four broad conclusions from the study:
1) Lack of transparency: The indices were primarily based on
the opinions of a tiny group of unknown “experts”.

2) Subjectivity: The questions used were subjective and
worded in a way that is impossible to answer objectively
even for a country.

3) Omission of important questions: Key questions which
are pertinent to a measure of democracy, like “Is the head of
state democratically elected?”, were not asked.

4) Ambiguous questions: Certain questions used by these
indices were not an appropriate measure of democracy
across all countries.

Here's a look at the three indices examined by the study:
Freedom in the World Index

India’s score on the US-based Freedom in the World Index —
an annual global report on political rights and civil liberties
— has consistently declined post 2018.

It's score on civil liberties was flat at 42 till 2018 but dropped
sharply to 33 by 2022. It's political rights score dropped from
35 to 33. Thus, India’s total score dropped to 66 which places
India in the “partially free” category – the same status it had
during the Emergency.

The study found that only two previous instances where
India was considered as Partially Free was during the time of
Emergency and then during 1991-96 which were years of
economic liberalisation.

"Clearly this is arbitrary. What did the years of Emergency,
which was a period of obvious political repression,
suspended elections, official censoring of the press, jailing of
opponents without charge, banned labour strikes etc, have
in common with period of economic liberalisation and of
today," the study asked.
It concluded that the index "cherry-picked" some media
reports and issues to make the judgement.
The authors further found that in Freedom House's latest
report of 2022, India’s score of the Freedom in the World
Index is 66 and it is in category "Partially Free".
"Cross country comparisons point towards the arbitrariness
in the way scoring is done. There are some examples of
countries which have scores higher than India which seem
clearly unusual. Northern Cyprus is considered as a free
territory with a score of 77 (in 2022 report). It is ironical as
North Cyprus is not even recognised by United Nations as a
country. It is recognised only by Turkey," the authors noted.
Economist Intelligence Unit
In the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index,
published the research and consulting arm of the firm that
publishes the Economist magazine, India is placed in the
category of “Flawed Democracy”.
Its rank deteriorated sharply from 27 in 2014 to 53 in 2020
and then improved a bit to 46 in 2021. The decline in rank
has been on account of decline in scores primarily in the
categories of civil liberties and political culture.
The authors found that list of questions used to determine
the outcome was "quite subjective", making objective

Riaz Haq said...

The situation for India’s more than 260 million agricultural workers is dire. Nearly 30 people in the farming sector die by suicide daily, according to the most recent figures available, typically due to overwhelming debt. Indeed in 2020, more than 10,000 people in the agricultural sector ended their own lives, according to government data.'s%20more,typically%20due%20to%20overwhelming%20debt.

India’s economic backbone – its farmers and their families – is in collapse. They face crushing pressures: insurmountable debt, environmental degradation, and extreme rates of cancer linked to exposure to pesticides.

Riaz Haq said...

Concern grows in Modi's India over hunger deaths, food aid, and data gaps

The government is accused of failing to log starvation deaths, while the safety net isn’t catching all it should.
The government hasn’t logged a single death from starvation since 2016, but Mrinalini Paul, who works with the Right to Food and Work Network (RTFWN), a local NGO, said it’s clear Sardar’s death should have been recorded as one, as should many others.
The Sardar family was eligible for 35 kilos of rice and grain monthly from a government-run aid programme but had been approved for just two kilos because they lacked the right ID documents, according to Paul. “They had been without even these minimal benefits for six months,” she told The New Humanitarian.

Sunil Agarwala, the district magistrate of Jhargram, refuted the allegations, telling The Hindu newspaper they were "baseless", while insisting that Sardar’s death “was due to illness, TB, and other reasons”.

According to the World Health Organization, undernutrition is a key driver of TB, while malnutrition also makes TB therapy less effective and raises the risk of TB-related death.

The recently published Medical Certification Cause of Death (MCCD), 2020 report found that fewer than a quarter of the 81,15,882 registered deaths in India that year had known causes. Hunger activists are alarmed that a country with 1.4 billion people can only verify the causes of 22.5% of its documented fatalities.

Swati Narayan, assistant professor at the School for Public Health and Human Development at O.P. Jindal Global University, told The New Humanitarian that medical workers are unlikely to catch if the cause of death is starvation given how post-mortems are typically carried out.

She said it was crucial to also consider the person's socioeconomic position and the condition of their body, including the weight of their organs, visceral fat, and diseases brought on by a weaker immune system and malnutrition.

“The post-mortem reports are not an accurate reflection of hunger or starvation deaths in the country,” Narayan said. “Oral autopsies are much better at determining if the cause of death was hunger.”

Worsening hunger and the fight for a stronger safety net
Question marks around Sardar’s death and others like it – a similar case involving three “hunger deaths” in the same family went before the high court last month in Jharkhand, which borders West Bengal to the east – come amid signs of growing food insecurity in India.

The 2022 Global Hunger Index ranks India at 107 out of 121 nations, six places lower than its previous ranking, and below the likes of Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

While India remains in the “serious” category rather than “alarming” or “very alarming”, it recorded the highest percentage (19.3%) of any country of children under five who are “wasting”, meaning they’re below average weight for their height.

The pandemic made hunger worse, but income losses and rising debt continued to drive it up long after the worst of the health crisis had passed. A survey by the Right to Food Campaign in late 2021/early 2022 found that nearly 80% of respondents faced food insecurity, and almost half had run out of food the previous month.

However, the hunger problems also pre-date COVID. India’s last National Family Health Survey, which used data from 2019, found that stunting – a sign of chronic malnutrition – had risen in 11 out of the 17 states. In 13 states, wasting had also increased.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Does #Modi Not Want #India's #Census2021? Would it Expose #BJP's Lies About Progress in Open Defecation, Village #Electrification, #Poverty, #Hunger??

Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such. And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data.


Three years ago India’s government was scheduled to pose its citizens a long list of basic but important questions. How many people live in your house? What is it made of? Do you have a toilet? A car? An internet connection? The answers would refresh data from the country’s previous census in 2011, which, given India’s rapid development, were wildly out of date. Because of India’s covid-19 lockdown, however, the questions were never asked.

Almost three years later, and though India has officially left the pandemic behind, there has been no attempt to reschedule the decennial census. It may not happen until after parliamentary elections in 2024, or at all. Opposition politicians and development experts smell a rat.


For a while policymakers can tide themselves over with estimates, but eventually these need to be corrected with accurate numbers. “Right now we’re relying on data from the 2011 census, but we know our results will be off by a lot because things have changed so much since then,” says Pronab Sen, a former chairman of the National Statistical Commission who works on the household-consumption survey. And bad data lead to bad policy. A study in 2020 estimated that some 100m people may have missed out on food aid to which they were entitled because the distribution system uses decade-old numbers.

Similarly, it is important to know how many children live in an area before building schools and hiring teachers. The educational misfiring caused by the absence of such knowledge is particularly acute in fast-growing cities such as Delhi or Bangalore, says Narayanan Unni, who is advising the government on the census. “We basically don’t know how many people live in these places now, so proper planning for public services is really hard.”

The home ministry, which is in charge of the census, continues to blame its postponement on the pandemic, most recently in response to a parliamentary question on December 13th. It said the delay would continue “until further orders”, giving no time-frame for a resumption of data-gathering. Many statisticians and social scientists are mystified by this explanation: it is over a year since India resumed holding elections and other big political events.

Riaz Haq said...

Unemployment in India

High #Unemployment in #India: While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022. #Modi #BJP #economy #poverty #hunger Hindutva #Islamophobia

Too few jobs, too many workers and ‘no plan B’: The time bomb hidden in India’s ‘economic miracle’

Sunil Kumar knows all about working hard to achieve a dream. The 28-year-old from India’s Haryana state already has two degrees – a bachelor’s and a master’s – and is working on a third, all with a view to landing a well-paid job in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

“I studied so that I can be successful in life,” he said. “When you work hard, you should be able to get a job.”

Kumar does now have a job, but it’s not the one he studied for – and definitely not the one he dreamed about.

He has spent the past five years sweeping the floors of a school in his village, a full-time job he supplements with a less lucrative side hustle tutoring younger students. All told, he makes about $85 a month.

It’s not much, he concedes, especially as he needs to support two aging parents and a sister, but it is all he has. Ideally, he says, he’d work as a teacher and put his degrees to use. Instead, “I have to do manual labor just to be able to feed myself.”

Kumar’s situation is not unusual, but a predicament faced by millions of other young Indians. Youth unemployment in the country is climbing sharply, a development that risks undermining the new darling of the world economy at the very moment it was expected to really take off.

India’s newfound status as the world’s most populous nation had prompted hopes of a youthful new engine for the global economy just as China’s population begins to dwindle and age. Unlike China’s, India’s working age population is young, growing, and projected to hit a billion over the next decade – a vast pool of labor and consumption that one Biden administration official has called an “economic miracle.”

But for young Indians like Kumar, there’s a flip side to this so-called miracle: too few jobs and too much competition.

In contrast to China, where economists fear there won’t be enough workers to support the growing number of elderly, in India the concern is there aren’t enough jobs to support the growing number of workers.

While people under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population, almost half of them – 45.8% – were unemployed as of December 2022, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), an independent think tank headquartered in Mumbai, which publishes job data more regularly than the Indian government.

Some analysts have described the situation to CNN as a “time bomb”, warning of the potential for social unrest unless more employment can be created.

Kumar, like others in his position, knows all too well the frustrations that can build when work is scarce.

“I get very angry that I don’t have a successful job despite my qualifications and education,” he said. “I blame the government for this. It should give work to its people.”

The bad news for people like Kumar, and the Indian government, is that experts warn the problem will only get worse as the population grows and competition for jobs gets even tougher.

Kaushik Basu, an economics professor at Cornell University and former chief economic adviser for the Indian government, described India’s youth unemployment rate as “shockingly high.”

It’s been “climbing slowly for a long time, say for about 15 years it’s been on a slow climb but over the past seven, eight years it’s been a sharp climb,” he said.

“If that category of people do not find enough employment,” Basu added, “then what was meant to be an opportunity, the bulge in that demographic dividend, could become a huge challenge and problem for India.”