India ranks 102 in Global Hunger Index below neighbours Pak, Nepal, Bangladesh

NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - The GHI report was published on October 15 where India was the worst performer among South Asian countries which mostly were ranked between 66 to 94.

India ranks 102 among 117 countries on this year’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) slipping from 55 (out of 76 nations) in 2014. It has been classified as a country with ‘serious’ levels of hunger by GHI.

The GHI report was published on October 15 where India was the worst performer among South Asian countries which mostly were ranked between 66 to 94.

India ranks much below its neighbours Pakistan at 94, Bangladesh at 88, Sri Lanka scoring 66, Nepal at 73 and China on 25.

The GHI annual report, jointly published by Ireland’s Concern Worldwide and Germany’s Welthungerhilfe is publishing it since 2000. The four GHI indicators – undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting, and child mortality are used to calculate the levels of hunger and undernutrition worldwide and countries are ranked based on the score.

South Asia and have the highest 2019 GHI scores in the world at 29.3. According to the GHI, the score indicate serious levels of hunger.The 2019 GHI report reads, “South Asia’s high GHI score is driven by its high rates of child undernutrition. The child stunting rate for the region is 37.6 percent, and the child wasting rate is 17.5 percent; both are the highest levels of any region in this report. In South Asia, the key factors that contribute to stunting are poor infant and young child feeding practices, poor nutrition among women before and during pregnancy, and poor sanitation practices (Smith and Haddad 2015). A study of six South Asian countries found that a lower maternal body mass index was significantly associated with child wasting in five of the six countries.”

The GHI report blames India’s GHI indicator values which dropped South Asian ranking, “India have an outsized impact on the indicator values for the South Asian region. India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent—the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available. Its child stunting rate, 37.9 percent, is also categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance (de Onis et al. 2019). In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.”

Report also mentions that open defecation is still practiced in India. “This situation jeopardizes the population’s health and consequently children’s growth and development as their ability to absorb nutrients is compromised. “

The Central African Republic came last on the list with a rank of 117 and only fifteen other countries in GHI performed worse than India. Sierra Leone, Uganda, Djibouti, Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Timor-Leste, Haiti, Liberia, Zambia, Madagascar, Chad and Yemen came took spots from 103 to 116.

The Opposition took no time in criticizing the central government.

Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah took to Twitter and said, “According to 2019 Global Hunger Index, India has slipped to 102 out of 117 countries. The report says that India has ‘Serious’ hunger levels & yet many believe ‘Acche Din Aayega’. The question is when? Is it when all, except the Cronies, die of hunger”

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tweeted, “In 2017, India’s rank was 100 in GHI, amongst 119 countries. In 2019, India’s rank is 102 in GHI, amongst 117 countries. Global Hunger Index (GHI)”

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