Amidst the economic slowdown, there’s yet another jolt for India. In the Global Hunger Index (GHI) released this Tuesday, India stands at a low 102nd spot, eight points below Pakistan and 25 points below Nepal. The index involved a total of 117 countries and categorised them in groups where hunger issues are extremely alarming, alarming, serious, moderate and low.

Key Takeaways:

  • India is the lowest-ranked nation among the South Asian countries and in fact, way behind other BRICS nations, in the recently released Global Hunger Index. 
  • Moreover, Pakistan, which used to be the only country to rank below India, made it to the 94th spot in the 2019 GHI.
  • India ranks at a low 102nd spot in the list analysing the hunger situations in a total of 117 countries.
  • India is put into a group where hunger conditions are serious. (The yellow portion of the map)
Global Hunger Index
Global Hunger Index

Even with new latrine construction under “Clean India”, however, open defecation is still practiced. This situation jeopardizes the population’s health and consequently, children’s growth and development as their ability to absorb nutrients is compromised.

Ranked Lowest Among South Asian Countries And Way Lower Than Other BRICS Nations

India has been ranked the lowest among its other South Asian counterparts. Other South Asian countries are ranked somewhere between 66 to 94. In fact, even among the BRICS nations, India is ranked the lowest, with South Africa ranked the second-lowest at 59.

A GHI score has been calculated for all the countries on the basis of the proportion of a country’s child population that is undernourished, share of children under five years of age who have insufficient weight for their height or whose height is not commensurate to their age, and the mortality rate of children of under five years of age. For India, the score stands at 30.3. In 2015, India stood at the 93rd rank.

Read More: Direct relation between mother’s education and child nutrition: Survey

India’s Large Population Possibly A Reason Behind Its Low Rank

According to the report, “Because of its large population, India’s GHI indicator values have an outsized impact on the indicator values for the 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 categorised as very high in terms of its public health significance.  In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet. As of 2015–2016, 90 percent of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39 percent of households had no sanitation facilities (IIPS and ICF 2017). In 2014 the prime minister instituted the “Clean India” campaign to end open defecation and ensure that all households had latrines. Even with new latrine construction, however, open defecation is still practiced. This situation jeopardizes the population’s health and consequently, children’s growth and development as their ability to absorb nutrients is compromised.”

In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.

As per the Global Index Report 2018, India has the highest number of stunted children in the world. According to the report, 46.6 million children in India are stunted which is equivalent to one-third of the world’s stunted children.

Picture Credit: Outlook India

Read More: Government To Review Parameters Used To Measure Stunting In Children

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