New Delhi, Oct 13 :
The hunger situation in India is no longer “alarming” and the country has improved its position as regards child nutrition, a global report said Monday.
India now ranks 55th out of 76 Asian countries — ahead of Bangladesh and Pakistan, but behind Nepal and Sri Lanka — as far as hunger is concerned, according to the 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
The report said India determined its first provisional national child underweight estimate in eight years.
The country has made a significant improvement over the last estimate of 43.5 percent children under five being underweight in 2005-2006 while the figure was 30.7 percent in 2013-2014.
This means that the prevalence of underweight in children fell by almost 13 percentage points between 2005-2006 and 2013-2014.
India no longer ranks second-to-last in the world when it comes to children being underweight. Instead, it has moved to the 120th spot among 128 countries.
Progress on child underweight helped India’s 2014 GHI score fall to 17.8, a decline of 26 percent or 6.4 points between those recorded in 2005 and in 2014.
This outpaces the drop seen in other South Asian countries during this period. India is no longer in the category with “alarming” hunger and has moved to “serious”, the report said.
According to it, India improved its score following the government rollout and expansion of several programmes that target causes of under-nutrition, including the Integrated Child Development Services programme and the National Rural Health Mission.
The Supreme Court also appointed a commission to monitor the delivery of food-based programmes.
Indirect factors that contributed to less hunger in India included the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme — a rural jobs programme — and reforms to the Public Distribution System that distributes food to the poor, it said.
The report goes on to say that overall, the 2014 GHI scores for Asia were better than the 1990 GHI figures.
South Asia had the second-highest 2014 GHI regional score at 18.1 — just one-tenth of a point behind the worst regional performer, Africa south of the Sahara.