According to the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2016, two in every five children under five years of age in India suffer from stunted growth. India's situation has been rated as 'alarming'- its fifth highest GHI score in Asia only better than Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Pakistan, and North Korea.
If situation doesn’t improve, India will be juggling with hunger and malnutrition in 2030 too. “India may become the world’s most populous country in next six years. It is important to ensure that the estimated 1.4 billion Indians have access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy and successful lives,” said Pramod Joshi, IFPRI Director for South Asia.
“India must accelerate the pace at which it is reducing hunger or will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal,” said Shenggen Fan, director general, the International Food Policy Research Institute(IFPRI). “ To end hunger the government, the private sector and civil society will have to devote the time and resources necessary to meet the important goal of eliminating hunger by 2030.”
According to the report, the Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia scored the highest levels of hunger. Sahara has the highest hunger level, followed closely by South Asia.
The report also highlights the achievements in the field. It stated that the level of hunger in developing countries, as measured by the Global Hunger Index(GHI), had fallen by 29 per cent since 2000. Twenty countries, including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Myanmar, have all reduced their GHI scores by over 50 percent each since 2000. And for the second year in a row, no developing countries for which data was available were in the 'extremely alarming' category.
Experts say that there is a need for data analysis and targeted solutions to end hunger in communities facing the highest risk. Although the Latin American region has the lowest regional GHI score in the developing world, Haiti had the fourth highest GHI score at an 'alarming' 36.9. Mexico has a low level of overall hunger, but child stunting and undernutrition are relatively high in certain areas within its borders.
The GHI, now in its 11th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators: undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age). The 2016 report ranked 118 countries in the developing world, almost half of which have 'serious' or 'alarming' hunger levels.
"The 2030 agenda has set a clear global objective for an end to hunger everywhere," said David Nabarro, special advisor to the UN Secretary-General. He was speaking about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. "Too many people are hungry today. There is a need for urgent, thoughtful and innovative action to ensure that no one ever goes hungry again", he said.