NEW DELHI: A report by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has revealed that India has a higher rate of malnutrition than North Korea and Myanmar.
According to the World Economic Forum, India fared poorly on the Global Hunger Index (GHI, pdf) for 2017 as India ranked 100 out of 119 countries on the GHI, while last year it was at 97 out of 118.
A lower ranking is indicative of a higher rate of malnutrition and hunger.
As per the report, the rankings were based on four indicators: undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting, and child stunting. A GHI score of between 20 and 34.9 points reflects serious hunger levels; between 35 and 49.9, it is alarming, and extremely alarming if over 50.
"India's GHI score from 46.2 in 1992 to 31.4 in 2017, has improved over the years, however, its hunger problem remains categorised as “serious,” the report said.
Only two Asian countries; Pakistan and Afghanistan were hungrier than India in 2017.
The IFPRI Director PK Joshi said in a statement that despite India being host of schemes to fight hunger, “drought and structural deficiencies have left a large number of poor in India at risk of malnourishment in 2017.”
"While India has remarkably reduced its child stunting rate—down 29% since 2000—the child wasting rates (children under five who have low weight for their height) remain high. In 2015-16, some 21% of Indian children suffered from wasting, up from 20% a decade ago," the IFPRI report said.
"Meanwhile, though 14.5% of its population remains undernourished, the figure is down from 21.7% in 1992. Under-five mortality rate, too, has now dropped to 4.8% in 2017 from 11.9% in 1992," it added.
Joshi further said that India is also moving towards elimaniating malnourishment from the country.
“The on-going efforts are expected to make significant changes in improving the existing situation. It is welcoming that India has developed and launched an action plan on ‘undernourishment free India’ by 2022,” he said.