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India State Hunger Index Developed

UCR Researcher Helps Develop India State Hunger Index

First analysis of its kind identifies Indian states with most severe levels of hunger.

(October 16, 2008)

Anil DeolalikarEnlarge

Anil Deolalikar

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The most severe level of hunger in India is in the state of Madhya Pradesh, according to the first India State Hunger Index, which was developed by researchers at UC Riverside and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The India State Hunger Index was released Oct. 14 by IFPRI, Welthungerhilfe (formerly known as German Agro-Action) and UCR. The full report is available at

Anil Deolalikar, professor of economics and associate dean of UCR’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and researchers Purnima Menon and Anjor Bhaskar from IFPRI found that not a single state in India fell in the “low hunger” or “moderate hunger” categories. Twelve fell in the “alarming” category, four were considered “serious,” and one – Madhya Pradesh – fell in the “extremely alarming” category.

“This new state-focused index is an important advocacy tool to build awareness of the disparities in hunger across India, which has more hungry people than any other country in the world,” said Bernhard Hoeper, regional director South Asia of Welthungerhilfe. “With this year’s Global Hunger Index, we can also see how India compares to the rest of the world in the fight against hunger.”

India ranks 66 out of 88 nations (developing countries and countries in transition) on the 2008 Global Hunger Index.

“The India State Hunger Index is particularly insightful because it measures hunger across the country by ranking states on three leading indicators and combining them into a composite index – somewhat akin to the Human Development Index,” Deolalikar said.

The index analyzes hunger levels in 17 major states – which collectively account for more than 95 percent of India’s population – using three indicators of hunger: prevalence of child malnutrition, rates of child mortality and the proportion of people who are calorie deficient.

The International Food Policy Research Institute, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., is one of 15 centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, an alliance of 64 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations.

Welthungerhilfe was founded in 1962 as the national committee of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign set up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It is one of Germany’s largest nongovernmental organizations.

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