The level of hunger remains at ‘alarming levels’, says report

India has moved from 65 to 63 in the Global Hunger Index, making a marginal improvement since 2012, but continues to languish far behind other emerging economies. The score for the country improved slightly from 22.9 in 2012 to 21.3 this year. As has been the trend, within SAARC countries too, India continued to trail behind Pakistan and Bangladesh on the index.

The index is prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute along with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

The level of hunger in India remained at ‘alarming levels’, the report read, noting that it is one of the three countries outside Sub-saharan Africa to fall in this category. The other two are Haiti and Timor-Leste.

Under-nutrition in children

The report noted that India continued to record one of the highest prevalence of children under five who are underweight, at more than 40 per cent – one of the three criteria that the index is built on.

The report said South Asia continued to have the maximum number of hungry people in the world, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.

“Social inequality and the low nutritional, educational, and social status of women are major causes of child under-nutrition in this [South Asian] region,” the report said.

Other emerging economies doing better

In comparison to India, other emerging economies with high growth trajectories have done a much better job at pulling people out of hunger, the report showed.

China improved its ranking by 57.69 per cent between 1990-2012, while India showed a 34 per cent improvement in the same period.

Brazil, in comparison, had a much better score to begin with and by 2012 entered the select block of nations doing the best to fight hunger.

Countries that have achieved the highest progress on this front included Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Ghana, Thailand and Vietnam – all achieving more than 55% increase in their GHI score.

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