India fares poor

Despite witnessing high economic growth during the last five years, India had been ranked below many of its neighbouring countries like China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, according to a global hunger index published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said.

One of the few economies to register healthy growth while large parts of the world see a recession, India has been ranked 67th, well below China (9th), Sri Lanka (39th), Pakistan (52nd) and Nepal (56th). The index rated 84 countries on the basis of three key indicators – prevalence of child malnutrition, rate of child mortality and the proportion of people who are calorie deficient.

India has the bulk of malnourished people in the world,” Ashok Gulati, director, Asia, IFPRI, said. However, he said the index relied on the data by NSSO 61st round based on the data collected during 2004-05 while many other countries had latest data to offer.

In India, high index scores are driven by high levels of children being underweight resulting from the low nutritional and social status of women in the country, the report noted. The country is also home to 42% of the world’s underweight children, while Pakistan has just 5%.

“The economic performance and hunger levels are inversely correlated. In South and South-East Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Timor-Leste are among countries with hunger levels considerably higher than their gross national income per capita,” the IFPRI report said.

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