India plummets to 102 among 117 nations on hunger index

The country's performance was worse than Pakistan, which ranked 94th.
Last Updated 16 October 2019, 07:15 IST

India has slipped seven places to the 102nd spot among 117 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2019 as an increasing number of children under age five reported wasting (low weight for height).

India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 per cent—the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available. The child wasting rate in India rose from 16.5 per cent in 2008-2012 to 20.8 per cent in 2014-2018, according to the report.

The findings are synonymous with the National Family Health Survey of 2015-16 estimate of the prevalence of wasting in India at 21 per cent. Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra were the big states that contributed to the high wasting percentage in the country, as per the report.

According to GHI, the child stunting rate in India stood at 37.9 per cent. The stunting rate was also categorised as very high in terms of its public health significance.

In India, just 9.6 per cent of all children between six and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet, according to the report. As of 2015–2016, 90 per cent of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39 percent of households had no sanitation facilities (IIPS and ICF 2017).

In the past two decades, India's rank has fallen sharply from 83rd out of 113 countries in 2000 to 102nd out of 117 now. In 2010, India ranked 95th in the GHI, published by Concern Worldwide agency that compiles the report.

Among the South Asian countries, India ranked the lowest. The country's performance was worse than Pakistan, which ranked 94th. India ranked even below countries such as North Korea that is at the 92nd place.

The report warned that the progress towards a 2030 zero hunger target that was agreed upon by leaders across the words was “under threat”.

(Published 16 October 2019, 06:32 IST)

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