India falls behind Pakistan, Bangladesh in global hunger index

The GHI 2021 report terms the level of hunger in South Asian nation ‘alarming’


News Desk October 15, 2021
Asha Devi, 35, a mother of five who is a labour worker, sits along with her husband and their daughter outside her one-room house in Dihwa village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, June 22, 2021. Picture taken June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Aftab Ahmed

India’s position on Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 has further deteriorated after it slipped to the 101st spot out of 116 countries, lagging behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Eighteen countries, including China, Brazil and Kuwait, shared the top rank with GHI score of less than five, NDTV reported quoting the website of the GHI that tracks hunger and malnutrition on Thursday.

The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe, termed the level of hunger in India "alarming".

In 2020, India was ranked 94th out of 107 countries. Now with 116 countries in the fray, it has dropped to 101st rank. India's GHI score has also decelerated – from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8 - 27.5 between 2012 and 2021.

The GHI score is calculated on four indicators — undernourishment; child wasting (the share of children under the age of five who are wasted i.e. who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute under-nutrition); child stunting (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic under-nutrition) and child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).

Also read: Rural India sinks deeper into debt as Covid-19 wipes out work

The share of wasting among children in India rose from 17.1 per cent between 1998-2002 to 17.3 per cent between 2016 and 2020, according to the report.

"People have been severely hit by Covid-19 and by pandemic related restrictions in India, the country with highest child wasting rate worldwide," the report said.

Neighbouring countries like Nepal (76), Bangladesh (76), Myanmar (71) and Pakistan (92) are also in the 'alarming' hunger category, but have fared better at feeding its citizens than India, according to the report.

However, India has shown improvement in other indicators such as the under-5 mortality rate, prevalence of stunting among children and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food, the report said.

According to the report, the fight against hunger is dangerously off-track. Based on the current GHI projections, the world as whole and 47 countries in particular, will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.

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