New Delhi/Islamabad: India and Pakistan remain at the bottom of Global Hunger Index (GHI), standing at 100 and 106 respectively among 119 developing countries. The two nations face serious hunger problems with Pakistan lagging behind India and even most of the African states, according to a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute.
The Washington-based IFPRI on Thursday released its fresh Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2017, which showed that India and Pakistan were facing serious hunger problem and the situation could become ‘alarming’ in the coming years.
The IFPRI published the report with Concern Worldwide, an Irish aid agency, and Welthungerhilfe, a German private aid organisation. The GHI tracks hunger worldwide, focussing on countries where hunger is an urgent issue.
India ties with Djibouti and Rwanda for the 100th rank, and with a score of 31.4 of 100 (with 0 being best and 100 the worst), India’s 2017 GHI falls at the high end of the “serious” category.
“Given that three-quarters of South Asia’s population resides in India, the situation in that country strongly influences South Asia’s regional score,” the 2017 GHI report said.
Pakistan has used about Rs50 billion funds for political purposes, which were actually meant to achieve Prime Minister’s Global Sustainable Development Goals like ending malnutrition, child stunting and child mortality.
While India has scaled up two national programmes addressing nutrition — the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission — but these do not yet reach enough people, the report said.
At 32.6, Pakistan has the second highest hunger score – only Afghanistan has worse – in all of Asia. Its next door neighbour, India, has the third highest score of 31.4 in Asia and is ranked at 100 overall.
Afghanistan is ranked at 107 with a 33.3 score. Countries like Ethiopia, Angola, Uganda and Rwanda fared better than Pakistan, underscoring growing inequality in the country despite official claims Pakistan was on course to join top 25 economies of the world.
The GHI score is a multidimensional index composed of four indicators—proportion of undernourished in the population, prevalence of child mortality, child stunting, and child wasting (low weight for height).
India is last among the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of emerging nations.
Data from the report showed that India’s rank (100) was lower than all its neighbours—Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29)—except Pakistan (106). Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings, shows the report.
The report noted that about one-fifth of Pakistan’s total population was undernourished.