NEW DELHI: India has made some progress in reducing poverty level, but still ranks behind neighbouring Nepal and Sri Lanka on the Global Hunger Index and its hunger status remains classified as "serious".
India was at 63rd position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) last year. The 55th position in 2014 is better than Pakistan (ranked 57) and Bangladesh (57), but trails behind Nepal (44) and Sri Lanka (39).
"Progress in dealing with underweight helped India’s 2014 GHI score fall to 17.8 points. India now ranks 55th out of 76 countries, before Bangladesh and Pakistan, but still trails behind neighbouring Nepal and Sri Lanka," the GHI report said.
The International Food Policy Research Institute and NGOs Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide have jointly prepared the report.
While India is no longer in the "alarming" category, India’s hunger status is still classified as "serious".
India has made progress in reducing underweight among children under five in the past few years, but "much work still needs to be done" so that a greater share of the population will enjoy nutrition security, it said.
This year marks the end of a "data drought", the report said, adding India has determined its first new provisional national underweight estimate in eight years.
At 30.7 per cent, it points to real progress compared with the last estimate of 43.5 per cent in 2005–2006, it said.
"As a consequence, India no longer ranks second to last on underweight in children, but 120th among 128 countries with data on child under-nutrition from 2009–2013," it added.
Highlighting the efforts made to address underweights, it said since the last under-nutrition data became available, India had rolled out and expanded several programmes targeting a mix of direct and indirect causes of under-nutrition.
Nutrition-specific interventions that were scaled up after 2006 include a final push to expand the Integrated Child Development Services and the launch of the National Rural Health Mission.
Indirect factors may have included the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and reforms in several states in the Public Distribution System, the report said.