India fares badly in child development index

India has slipped by 12 ranks in the global grading on the child development index, denoting health, education and nutrition, between 1995 and 2010.

Japan is the best place in the world to be a child while Somalia is the worst, a latest report has suggested.

The Child Development Index report released by Save the Children makes an aggregate analysis of the Child Development Index in three time periods – 1995-1999, 2000-2004 and 2005-2010 of 141 countries.

India’s poor performance comes in the context of as many as127 countries improving their scores during this period. India’s CDI fell by three ranks (100 to 103) between 1995 and 1999 and by another nine ranks (103 to 112) between 2005 and 2010. Of 141 countries that have been ranked, India is among the only 14 whose rank has dropped.

India reports 1.25 million infant deaths annually, 42 per cent of its children are underweight, 58 per cent children are stunted by the age of two years, and 8.1 million children are out of school with a huge chunk of them being from the rural areas.

The CDI, launched in 2008 as a tool to monitor the progress in child well-being, ranks the best and worst countries to be a child and improvements in child well-being. The 2012 edition shows some encouraging results. On an average, the lives of children globally in the indicators improved by over 30 per cent. This means that the chances of a child going to school were one-third higher, and the chances of an infant dying before their fifth birthday were one-third lower at the end of the 2000 than a decade before. During this period child well-being improved in 90 per cent of the countries surveyed.

Even more encouragingly, this historic progress has been accelerating dramatically in recent years. From the first half of the 2000s to the second, overall rates of progress in child well-being almost doubled compared to the end of the 1990s (an average improvement of 22 per cent, up from 12 per cent) and primary school enrolment was even more impressive, as the rate of improvement more than doubled during the 2000s (from11 per cent to 23 per cent; and from 14 per cent to 32 per cent respectively).

Save the Children says that a significant rise in acutely malnourished children threatens impressive progress in cutting child mortality and getting more children into school.   

More In: Society | Metroplus