India Ranks 100 Among 119 Countries In Global Hunger Index

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New Delhi: India, which has more than a fifth (21 percent) of its children wasted (weigh too little for their height), slipped three places to 100th in the 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) – three places down from last year’s rank of 97th.

According to a report by national media the 2017 GHI released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Thursday termed India’s hunger levels ‘serious’ problem at hand.

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The data from the report showed that India ranked lower than all its neighbouring countries – Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29) – except Pakistan, which has been placed at 106th in the global hunger list.

The report revealed that even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings.

The countries’ position on the index is ranked on the basis of undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting.

“With a GHI score that is near the high end of the serious category, it is obvious that a 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,” said Nivedita Varshneya, India director for Weltehungerhilfe, a German humanitarian agency which collaborates with IFPRI in assessing hunger.

The hunger report index of 119 countries also showed that in three years’ time India has seen a fall of 45 ranks from 55th in 2014.

“Despite a massive scale-up of national nutrition-focused programmes, drought and structural deficiencies have left large numbers of poor in India at risk of malnourishment,” Pramod Kumar Joshi, an agricultural economist and IFPRI South Asia director, said in a news release.

Pointing out that only 9.6 per cent of children between six and 23 months of age in India receive adequate diet, the IFPRI cited that only three other countries – Djibouti, Sri Lanka and South Sudan – show child wasting levels higher than 20 per cent.

The index has also cited India’s gains on undernourishment, child stunting and child mortality.
According to 2015-16 National Family Health Survey (NFHS), of Indian children under five, one in three (35.7%) is underweight, one in three (38.4%) is stunted and one in five (21%) is wasted.

Globally, the Central African Republic is ranked as the the sole country with ‘extremely alarming’ hunger with about 58 percent of its population living in a state of undernourishment over the past three years.

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