Though ranked higher than India in this year’s hunger index, the neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan are also in the ‘serious’ category.
Experts blaming poor implementation processes, lack of effective monitoring, siloed approach in tackling malnutrition and poor performance by large states behind the low ranking, India now ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020 and is in the ‘serious’ hunger category.
India’s rank was 102 out of 117 countries last year.
Though ranked higher than India in this year’s hunger index, the neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan are also in the ‘serious’ category. Bangladesh ranked 75, while Myanmar and Pakistan are in the 78th and 88th position respectively.
The report showed that Nepal in 73rd and Sri Lanka in 64th position are in ‘moderate’ hunger category.
China, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Cuba and Kuwait, along with 11 other countries, shared the top rank with GHI scores of less than five.
14 per cent of India’s population is undernourished, as per the report.
The report also showed that India recorded a 37.4 per cent stunting rate among children under five and a wasting rate of 17.3 per cent. The under-five mortality rate is at 3.7 per cent.
Wasting is children who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition. Stunting is children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
Data from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, from 1991 to 2014, showed that stunting is concentrated among children from households facing multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty.
India, during this period, experienced a decline in under-five mortality, driven largely by a decrease in deaths from birth asphyxia or trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia, and diarrhoea, as per the report.
“However, child mortality, caused by prematurity and low birth weight, increased particularly in poorer states and rural areas. Prevention of prematurity and low birthweight is identified as a key factor with the potential to reduce under-five mortality in India, through actions such as better antenatal care, education, and nutrition as well as reductions in anaemia and oral tobacco use,” the report said.