GHI does not reflect hike in prod, supply

New Delhi: India ranks 67th among 81 countries in respect of food security, the government informed Parliament today, but denied the food security scenario in the country has deteriorated. "In the Global Hunger Index (GHI), 2011, India has been ranked 67th and below Rwanda," Food Minister K V Thomas said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

"The major limitation of GHI is that it is based on past data and does not take into account the current increase in availability and distribution of food which has happened in the case of India in between 2009 and 2011.

"Not only the production in respect of rice and wheat has increased during the last five years, but consequently the procurement as well as distribution of foodgrains have increased manifold. None of this is reflected in any of the constituent of Index," Thomas said.

GHI brought out by the International Food Policy Research Institute showed India is placed below Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Sri Lanka is at 36th, while Pakistan is at 59th position.

He said the Index released in October 2011 is not mainly in respect of hunger, but focuses on the issue of food price spikes and volatility which have played havoc and caused the global food crises of 2007-08 and 2010-11.

To a question on whether food security scenario in the country has deteriorated in 2011 in comparison to the last year, the minister said, "No".

There has been much larger production of wheat and rice, more foodgrains have been procured and and huge stocks of have been distributed at affordable prices to the vulnerable sections through targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).

In reply to an another question, Thomas said the stock position of foodgrains in the central pool as on November 1, 2011 was 55.74 million tonnes (mt) comprising of 26.08 mt of rice and 29.67 mt of wheat.

This is against the buffer stock norm of 21.2 mt comprising 14 mt of wheat and 0.72 mt of rice for the current quarter, the minister added.