Anupa KujurMoneycontrol News
India ranks a lowly 100th among 119 developing countries when it comes to hunger, according to the Global Health Index (GHI) 2017 report, indicating an increase in the “serious” problem of malnutrition that plagues the country.
The report was released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said on Thursday.
With a 31.4 GHI score, reaching the high end of the serious category that ranges between 20-34.9, the country’s rank slipped by three notches compared to last year when it ranked 97th on GHI 2016.
At the regional level, South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara have the highest 2017 GHI scores—30.9 and 29.4, respectively, indicating serious levels of hunger.
The report states that Asia’s regional score is “strongly” influenced by India’s performance as three-quarters of South Asia’s population resides in India.
India ranks the lowest in the hunger index among its neighbouring countries including Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29), except Pakistan (106).
Globally, North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) secured better ranks in hunger parameters and GHI rankings compared to India (100), stated the report.
The Global Health Index studies four indicators — the prevalence of undernourishment, child stunting (low height-for-age), child wasting (low weight-for-height), and child mortality — in each of the 119 countries to determine the hunger index.
India’s child wasting (low weight) rate has not substantially improved over the past 25 years. The prevalence of wasting in children under five years have improved by about only 1 percent to 21 percent from 20 percent in 1992, according to the GHI data.
According to 2015–2016 survey data, more than a fifth (21 percent) of children in India suffer from wasting.
Only three other countries have child wasting above 20 percent in this year’s index – Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan.
However, the country has made slight progress in other areas. India’s child stunting rate has decreased to 38.4 percent from 61.9 percent in 1992. Nevertheless, the stunting rate of 38.4 percent is still relatively high when compared to global standards.
Similarly, a declining trend is recorded in the prevalence of undernourishment of people in India. The percentage of undernourished in the country reduced to 14.5 percent in 2017 from 21.7 percent in 1992.
With respect to the fourth indicator — mortality rate of children below five years — data shows that India has a declining trend. In 2017, India’s mortality rate (below five-years) was 4.8 percent, about 7 percent less compared to 1992 figures.
The Central African Republic has the highest GHI score (50.9). It is the only country that has been categorised as “extremely alarming”.
Of the 119 countries assessed in this year’s report, seven countries fall in the alarming range, 44 in the serious range, and 24 in the moderate range. Only 43 countries have scores in the low range.
In addition, nine of the 13 countries that lack sufficient data for calculating 2017 GHI scores still raise significant concern, including Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria.
Globally, the level of hunger in the world has decreased by 27 percent from the 2000 level. The improvement reflects progress in each of these indicators according to the latest data from 2012–2016 for countries in the GHI.
Overall, undernourishment reduced to 13 percent compared to 18.2 percent in 2000. Percentage of stunted children was recorded at 27.8 percent, down from 37.7 percent in 2000.
Similarly, wasted children below five years and mortality rates declined by 0.4 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.