IN­DIA 100TH ON GLOBAL HUNGER IN­DEX

In­dia has slipped in the global hunger in­dex, although ahead of Pak­istan, as more than one­fifth of the chil­dren un­der five weigh too lit­tle for their height.

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

In­dia has slipped in the global hunger in­dex, although ahead of Pak­istan, as more than one­fifth of the chil­dren un­der five weigh too lit­tle for their height and over a third are too short for their age.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pre­pared by the US-based In­ter­na­tional Food Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute (IFPRI), In­dia ranked at 100th among 119 coun­tries on the Global Hunger In­dex (GHI) 2017. Last year, In­dia was placed at the 97th po­si­tion.

The GHI ranks coun­tries based on four key in­di­ca­tors -- un­der­nour­ish­ment, child mor­tal­ity, child wast­ing and child stunt­ing.

At 31.4, In­dia is at the high end of the `se­ri­ous’ cat­e­gory and is one of the main fac­tors push­ing South Asia to the cat­e­gory of worst per­form­ing re­gion on the GHI this year, fol­lowed closely by Africa (south of the Sa­hara), a state­ment is­sued by the IFPRI said.

A score of 9.9 or lower de­notes low hunger; while scores be­tween 35.0 and 49.9 de­note alarm­ing hunger while a score of 2034.9 means ‘se­ri­ous’ prob­lem of hunger.

“With a GHI score that is near the high end of the se­ri­ous cat­e­gory, it is ob­vi­ous that high GDP growth rate alone is no guar­an­tee of food and nutri­tion se­cu­rity for In­dia’s vast ma­jor­ity. In­equal­ity in all its forms must be ad­dressed now if we are to meet SDG 2 of Zero Hunger for ev­ery­one by 2030,” Nivedita Varsh­neya, Welthunger­hilfe coun­try di­rec­tor In­dia said in a state­ment.

In­dia has the third high­est score in all of Asia, only Afghanistan and Pak­istan are ranked worse. Even Bangladesh (88), Nepal (72) and Sri Lanka (84) are ahead of In­dia.

China is at 29 while Rus­sia is placed at 22 and other de­vel­oped coun­tries like the US, UK and France have been kept out of the rank­ings.

Coun­tries such as Bahrain, Bhutan, Libya, Qatar, So­ma­lia, South Su­dan and the Syr­ian could not be in­cluded be­cause of lack of data.

An anal­y­sis of In­dia’s rank­ing re­veals that the coun­try has seen a slide of 45 po­si­tions from 55th in 2014 over a three-year du­ra­tion. This does not mean that In­dia has per­formed worse but could be also due to other coun­tries do­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well to ad­dress the prob­lems of hunger and mal­nour­ish­ment.

Even with the mas­sive scale up of na­tional nutri­tion-fo­cused pro­grammes in In­dia, drought and struc­tural de­fi­cien­cies have left large num­ber of poor in In­dia at risk of mal­nour­ished in 2017, said P K Joshi, IFPRI’s di­rec­tor for South Asia.

“The on-go­ing ef­forts are ex­pected to make sig­nif­i­cant changes in im­prov­ing the ex­ist­ing sit­u­a­tion. It is wel­com­ing that In­dia has de­vel­oped and launched an ac­tion plan on un­der­nour­ish­ment free In­dia by 2022. The Ac­tion plan shows stronger com­mit­ment and greater in­vest­ments in tack­ling mal­nu­tri­tion in the com­ing years,” he said.

Even Bangladesh (88), Nepal (72) and Sri Lanka (84) are ahead of In­dia

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