Number of hungry people drops in India; still behind China, Pak

New Delhi: The number of hungry people has dropped in India with its score on the Global Hunger Index improving to 63rd position in 2013, but the country still lags behind China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In 2012, India stood at 67th position on GHI.

According to the lastest GHI, India still has "alarming levels" of hunger with highest prevalence of underweight in children under five at more than 40 per cent.

The GHI report has jointly been prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and NGOs Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

On the GHI, China scored 6th position with moderate level of hunger, while Sri Lanka was at 43, Pakistan at 57 and Bangladesh at 58, having 'serious' levels of hunger.

The report observed that South Asia has the maximum number of hungry people in the world followed by Sahara region, even as the global hunger is decreasing.

"Social inequality and the low nutritional, educational, and social status of women are major causes of child under- nutrition in this (South Asian) region that have impeded improvements in the GHI score," it said.

As far as global hunger levels are concerned, the report said that the world score on GHI has fallen by 34 per cent this year from the 1990 level, but hunger levels still remains "serious" with 19 countries suffering from either alarming or extremely alarming levels of hunger.

The Index identifies hunger levels across 120 developing countries and its scores are based on three equally weighted indicators: proportion of people undernourished, proportion of children under five underweight, and mortality rate of children under five.

IFPRI research fellow Derek Headey said: "Adopting a resilience lens is challenging. We need to build consensus on what it means and on that basis adopt programmes and policies that bridge the relief and development sectors."

The report said there is a need to break down the institutional, financial and conceptual walls separating the worlds of development and humanitarian assistance within donor and UN agencies to achieve greater synergies in strategies and implementation plans.

Also, policies that undermine resilience must be revised. To foster resilience to under-nutrition, policies should be designed with the intention of improving nutrition outcomes and realising the right to adequate food, it said.

The report has also suggested that the countries need to develop national approaches to food and nutrition security that are resilient to shocks and stresses.

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