India ranks a low 100th out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) released Thursday.
According to health authorities despite good health indicators at national level, which stand out in comparison to Sri Lanka's South Asian neighbors maternal and child undernourishment continues to be a major challenge in the country.
"The results of this year's Global Hunger Index show that we can not waiver in our resolve to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030", Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute said in a statement. With a score of 31.4 out of 100, India's 2017 GHI falls in the "serious" category.
The GHI score is based on four indicators - proportion of undernourished in the population, prevalence of child mortality, child stunting, and child wasting.
Though there has been a substantial decrease in the rating from 2008's 35.6 to a 31.4 in the current year, there's hardly anything to cheer for a country that is pegged as world's fastest growing economy for it shares the rating with African nations like Djibouti and Uganda.
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However, India has made considerable improvement in reducing its child stunting rate, down 29 per cent since 2000, but even that progress leaves India with a relatively high stunting rate of 38.4. Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings, the report. In 1992, India's GHI score was 46.2.
It adds, "According to 2015-2016 survey data, more than a fifth (21 percent) of children in India suffer from wasting". However, as for the prevalence of wasting in children under five years, there is, however, no improvement.
The report, published by the IFPRI in tandem with Concern Worldwide, an Irish aid agency, also acknowledge the two national programs that India runs to addresses nutrition - the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission - but points out that their reach isn't enough.
IFPRI pointed out that more than one-fifth of Indian children under five weigh too little for their height and over a third are too short for their age.
The report states that Asia's regional score is "strongly" influenced by India's performance as three-quarters of South Asia's population resides in India.
Joshi appreciated that India has developed and launched an action plan on "undernourishment free India" by 2022.