Opposition parties on Friday slammed the Centre over India slipping to 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) even as the government termed the methodology used for the rankings "unscientific".
India slipped to 101st rank in the GHI 2021, out of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th. It is now behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Reacting to the fall in India's ranking, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said "new records" were set in hunger.
If the people of the country cannot even eat properly then there is a question mark on the credibility and the efficiency of the ruler sitting on the throne.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the UPA's efforts to eliminate hunger, especially the 'Right to Food' Act, have been diluted and the poor have been left to fend for themselves.
"GoI needs to correct its failures soon," the Congress leader added.
Taking a dig at the government, senior party leader Kapil Sibal said, "Congratulations Modi ji for eradicating: 1) poverty 2) hunger 3) making India a global power 4) for our digital economy 5)...so much more. Global Hunger Index: 2020: India ranked 94. 2021: India ranks 101."
Referring to the index, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said now "we are way behind our neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan".
"Our new competitors are Afghanistan (103), Nigeria (103), Papua New Guinea (102), Congo (105), etc. Thank You, Modiji!" he said.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav said due to anti-poor policies of the central government, India has got 101 ranking out of 116 countries on the index.
"At this stage India will now have to compete with a country like Somalia. Shameful!" he tweeted.
On this Dussehra, let's burn the Ravana of hunger, he added.
The Centre, however, said it was shocking that India's rank was lowered on the Global Hunger Index and it termed the methodology used for rankings "unscientific".
Reacting sharply to the Global Hunger Report 2021, the Women and Child Development Ministry said it is "shocking" to find that it has lowered the rank of India on the basis of FAO estimate on the proportion of the undernourished population which is found to be "devoid of ground reality and facts, and suffers from serious methodological issues".
"The publishing agencies of the Global Hunger Report, Concern Worldwide and Welt Hungerhilfe, have not done their due diligence before releasing the report," the ministry said in a statement.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said the GHI ranking of India is now being disputed by the WCD Ministry.
"Err... when ranking good... wah bhai wah, when ranking poor... ja bhai jaa. Can't be selective about data as per your convenience. Rather than finding faults, wish GoI gets back to fighting hunger," she said.