As per the report, India ranks below many of its neighbouring countries such as China (29th rank), Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Sri Lank (84) and Bangladesh (88). Other than India, only in three other countries, Djibouti, Sri Lanka and South Sudan are more than 20% children wasted. The index shows that more than a fifth of Indian children under the age of five are malnourished and weigh too little for their height, reported the Business Standard.
It has been ranked third-worst in Asia, who only fared better than Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though being under several global conflicts, North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) ranked much better India in the hunger parameter. It is ahead of Pakistan (106) and Afghanistan (107).
Now in its 12th year, the GHI ranks countries based on four indicators - undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting.
Raising the alarm on the "serious" hunger problems in the country, the report mentioned, "given that three quarters of South Asia's population reside in India, the situation in that country strongly influences South Asia's regional score".
"Further", the report states, "India's child wasting rate has not substantially improved over the past 25 years", adding, however, "The country has made progress in other areas: Its child stunting rate, while still relatively high at 38.4 percent, has decreased in each of the reference periods in this report, down from 61.9 percent in 1992".
"With a GHI score that is near the high end of the serious category, it is obvious that a high GDP growth rate alone is no guarantee of food and nutrition security for India's vast majority", said Nivedita Varshneya, India director of Welthungerhilfe, a non-profit which co-authored the GHI report with IFPRI.
"Even with the massive scale up of national nutrition-focused programmes in India, drought and structural deficiencies have left large number of poor in India at risk of malnourishment in 2017, said P K Joshi, IFPRI Director for South Asia". However, as for the prevalence of wasting in children under five years, there is, however, no improvement.
The report ranked 119 countries in the developing world, almost half of which have "extremely alarming", "alarming" or "serious" hunger levels. Of the 119 countries assessed in this year's report, on the GHI Severity Scale, one is in the extremely alarming range, 7 are in the alarming range, 44 in the serious range, and 24 in the moderate range.