New Delhi:India has been ranked 67, way below neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan, in a new global hunger index by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The index, released on Monday, rated 84 countries on the basis of three leading indicators -prevalence of child malnutrition, rate of child mortality, and the proportion of people who are calorie deficient.
China is rated much ahead of India at the ninth place, while Pakistan is at the 52nd place on the 2010 Global Hunger Index (GHI), released by the IFPRI in association with a German group Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
In India, the high Index scores are driven by high levels of child underweight resulting from the low nutritional and social status of women in the country, the report pointed out, adding that India alone accounts for a large share of the world’s undernourished children, the IFPRI report said.
India is home to 42 % of the world’s underweight children, while Pakistan has just 5 %, it added.
Among other neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka was at the 39th position and Nepal ranked 56 by index. Bangladesh listed at the 68th position.
“The economic performance and hunger levels are inversely correlated. In South and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Timor-Leste are among countries with hunger levels considerably higher than their gross national income (GNI) per capita,” the IFPRI report said.
“Undernutrition in the first two years of life threatens a child’s life and can jeopardise physical, motor and cognitive development. It is therefore of particular importance that we take concerted action to combat hunger, especially among young children,” the report stressed.
It further said that the global food security is under stress. Although the world’s leaders, through the first Millennium Development Goal, adopted a goal of halving the proportion of hungry people between 1990 and 2015, “we are nowhere near meeting that target.”
“The 2010 world GHI shows some improvement over the 1990 world GHI, falling from 19.8 points to 15.1 or by almost one-quarter. The index for hunger in the world, however, remains serious,” it noted.
In recent years, however, the number of hungry people has actually been increasing. In 2009, on the heels of a global food price crisis and in the midst of worldwide recession, the number of undernourished peopled surpassed one billion, although recent estimates by the UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation suggest that the number will have dropped to 925 million in 2010, it added.