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India’s poor performance on specific international indicators due to methodological issues: EAC-PM

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger


Source: ET

Context: According to the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), India’s poor performance on specific international indicators despite rising per capita income is due to methodological issues.


Socio-development indicators where systematic biases exist:


The impact of methodological issues:

  • Conceptual ambiguity, flawed benchmarks and shoddy methodology → flawed estimation → overestimating the level of deprivation.
  • The growing use of Environment Social and Governance (ESG) norms in investment and trade decisions will mean that real-world decision-making will be increasingly impacted by biased data.


What aggravates the problem?

  • The Indian statistical authorities do not publish accurate data on a regular basis.
  • For example, the registrar general of India (RGI) publishes life expectancy estimates every year. However, the official estimates for 2019 were released in July 2022 by RGI.


Case study:

  • The global hunger index (GHI) of FAO captures three dimensions of hunger: insufficient availability of food, shortfalls in the nutritional status of children and child mortality (which is mainly attributable to undernutrition).
  • The 2022 index has ranked India at 107 among 121 countries.
  • According to the Indian government, the index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues.
  • Three out of the four indicators used for the calculation of the index are related to the health of Children and cannot be representative of the entire population.
  • The fourth and most important indicator estimate of the Proportion of the Undernourished (PoU) population is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000.



  • To counter the global mismatches, Indian statistical authorities must publish their own estimates proactively.
  • In order to be on time, this can be done based even on partial data, which can be updated later. This is done in the case of GDP.


Insta Links:

Global Hunger Index


Mains Links:

Despite the Consistent experience of High growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (UPSC 2019)