Hunger Index: India trails Pakistan, Bangladesh & Nepal

India has slipped to the 101st position in Global Hunger Index 2021 of 116 countries from the 94th position in 2020, and is behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Eighteen countries, including China, Brazil and Kuwait, shared the top rank with a GHI score of less than five, the website of the Global Hunger Index that tracks hunger and malnutrition said on Thursday.

The report, prepared by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe, termed the level of hunger in India “alarming”.

In 2020, India was ranked 94 out of 107 countries. Now with 116 countries in the fray, it has dropped to the 101st rank.

India’s GHI score has also decelerated—from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8-27.5 between 2012 and 2021.

The GHI score is calculated on four indicators—undernourishment, child wasting (the share of children under the age of five who are wasted, that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition), child stunting (those under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition) and child mortality (under the age of five).

The share of wasting among children in India rose from 17.1% from 1998-2002 to 17.3% in 2016-2020, according to the report.

“People have been severely hit by Covid-19 and by pandemic-related restrictions in India, the country with highest child wasting rate worldwide,” the report said. Nepal (76), Bangladesh (76), Myanmar (71) and Pakistan (92) are also in the ‘alarming’ hunger category, but have fared better at feeding its citizens than India.

India has shown improvement in other indicators such as the under-5 mortality rate, prevalence of stunting among children and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food, the report said.

According to the report, the fight against hunger is dangerously off track. Based on the current projections, the world as a whole—and 47 countries in particular —will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.

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