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India's world hunger ranking slips by three points, worse among BRICS countries, all neighbours except Pakistan

By Our Representative
India has slipped in Global Hunger Index (GHI) by three points ranks – from 97th position to 100th among the 119 countries surveyed. Worked out by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), what should be of particular concern for the country’s policy makers is, it ranks worse among its competing countries.
Thus, among the BRICS countries, Brazil ranks 18th, Russia 22nd, China 29th and South Africa 55th.
Even among immediate neighbours, while Pakistan lags behind India with a 106th ranking, the other important neighbours rank much better than India -- Bangladesh 88th, Sri Lanka 84th, Myanmar 77th, Nepal 72nd.
The report says, “Given that three-quarters of South Asia’s population resides in India, the situation in that country strongly influences South Asia’s regional score. At 31.4 (on a scale of 100), India’s 2017 GHI score is at the high end of the serious category.”
It adds, “According to 2015–2016 survey data, more than a fifth (21 percent) of children in India suffer from wasting. Only three other countries in this year’s GHI -- Djibouti, Sri Lanka, and South Sudan -- have data or estimates showing child wasting above 20 percent in the latest period (2012-16).” 
“Further”, the report states, “India’s child wasting rate has not substantially improved over the past 25 years”, adding, however, “The country has made progress in other areas: Its child stunting rate, while still relatively high at 38.4 percent, has decreased in each of the reference periods in this report, down from 61.9 percent in 1992.” 
The report says, “India has implemented a ‘massive scale-up’ of two national programmes that address nutrition – the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission – but these have yet to achieve adequate coverage.” 
Identifying “areas of concern”, the report says, these include: 
  1. the timely introduction of complementary foods for young children (that is, the transition away from exclusive breastfeeding), which declined from 52.7 percent to 42.7 percent between 2006 and 2016; 
  2. the share of children between 6 and 23 months old who receive an adequate diet—a mere 9.6 percent for the country; and 
  3. household access to improved sanitation facilities -- a likely factor in child health and nutrition-- which stood at 48.4 percent as of 2016.
India’s poor score, a slip by three ranks, has come about despite the fact the proportion of undernourished in the population in 1991-93 was 21.7%, and has been steadily going down – in 1999-2001 it was 17.2%, in 2007-09 it was 17.2%, and in 2014-16 it is 14.5.
Among other three parameters used for identifying GHI, the report finds that in the prevalence of stunting in children under five years, there is a sharp decline in India from 1990-94, which it was 61.9%, to 38.4% in 2012-16.
Even in the under-five mortality rate, there is a decline from 11.9% in 1992 to 4.8% in 2015.
However, as for the prevalence of wasting in children under five years, there is, however, no improvement. In fact, the percentage of wasting children has gone up from 20.0% in 1990-94 to 21.0% in 2012-16.

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