In a list of 119 countries, India ranked at a poor 100 in the Global Hunger Index (GHI)of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The report realeased on Thursday puts India at the high end of "very serious" category.
Though there has been a substantial decrease in the rating from 2008's 35.6 to a 31.4 in the current year, there's hardly anything to cheer for a country that is pegged as world's fastest growing economy for it shares the rating with African nations like Djibouti and Uganda.
Data from the report showed that India’s rank (100) was lower than all its neighbours—Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29)—except Pakistan (106). Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings, shows the report.
"India’s 2017 GHI score is at the high end of the serious category," it said.
According to 2015–2016 survey data, more than a fifth (21 percent) of children in India suffer from wasting. Only three other countries in this year’s GHI—Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan—have data or estimates showing child wasting above 20 percent in the latest period (2012–2016). Further, India’s child wasting rate has not substantially improved over the past 25 years, said the comprehensive report.
But the country has made progress in other areas, the report said.
"Its child stunting rate, while still relatively high at 38.4 percent, has decreased in each of the reference periods in this report, down from 61.9 percent in 1992. According to the report, India has implemented a “massive scale-up” of two national programs that address nutrition—the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission—but these have yet to achieve adequate coverage.
The report also listed areas of major concerns for the India that needs to be dealth with on an immediate basis. "(1) the timely introduction of complementary foods for young children (that is, the transition away from exclusive breastfeeding), which declined from 52.7 percent to 42.7 percent between 2006 and 2016; (2) the share of children between 6 and 23 months old who receive an adequate diet—a mere 9.6 percent for the country; and (3) household access to improved sanitation facilities—a likely factor in child health and nutrition—which stood at 48.4 percent as of 2016."