India ranked poorest in south Asia on hunger index

The Global Hunger Index 2013 states global hunger levels have declined but south Asia still among the worse

By Jitendra
Published: Sunday 15 September 2013

India has fared poorly as compared to its south Asian counterparts when it comes to feeding its teeming millions, according to the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2013 released on Monday.

Ranked 63 in a list of 78 countries, India has been rated worse than Pakistan at 57, Nepal at 49 and Sri Lanka at 43 in a region that is ranked among the worse in the world.

The report based on hunger data between 2008 and 2012 states global hunger has fallen by a third since 1990, with south Asia and Africa being rated at the rock bottom despite some improvements.

How does south Asia perform?

India is ranked 63 and its hunger index has reduced from 32.6 in 1990 to 21.3. South Asia has reported a high absolute decline in the hunger index scores since 1990. Between 1990 and 1995, the score reduced by four points, largely triggered by a 10 percentage point decline in the number of underweight children.

But between 1995 and 2000 and after 2005 the progress slowed down to the range of one to three percentage points despite economic growth. The report states social inequality and low nutritional, educational and social status of women are the major causes of child under-nutrition in the region that has heavily impacted its rating.

Global Hunger Index Score

The global hunger scenario

A report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations release last year pegged the count of chronically hungry people in the world at 870 million. The hunger level has declined to 842 million in 2013. That means one in every eight people in the world is chronically hungry. The 2013 Global Hunger Index also shows this trend. The hunger index score has reduced by nearly 34 per cent since 1990, from 20.8 to 13.8.

Some countries have reported remarkable absolute progress in improving their scores. Between 1990 and 2013, Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand and Vietnam have performed better than many countries, reporting a 15 to 23 points drop in their score.

In Africa, south of the Sahara, only Ghana is among the 10 best performers in terms of improving its score since 1990, while 19 countries still have hunger levels that have been rated either 'extremely alarming' or 'alarming'. Most of these countries are in Africa, south of the Sahara. The only exceptions are Haiti, Timor-Leste, and Yemen. The three countries with 'extremely alarming' scores Burundi, Comoros, and Eritrea. The report attributes this to prolonged conflict and political instability.

Swaziland is another country where hunger levels have increased. The country is reeling under an HIV, AIDS epidemic, along with high income inequality, and has severely undermined food security despite growth in national income. Swaziland's adult HIV prevalence in 2011 was estimated at 26 percent, the highest in the world according to UNAIDS 2012.

Countries with darkest blue have the worst hunger index score. Countries with a score of five indicate levels are below five. Click on countries to see data (in percentage). Graphic made on Google Maps, state boundaries may not be accurate

Enlarge view

Prevalence of undernourishment in South Asia

The report states Bangladesh has reduced prevalence of undernourishment by more than 50 per cent, with the percentage of its undernourished population reducing from 34.6 per cent to 16.8 per cent. After Bangladesh, India has reduced its undernourished population by 35 per cent followed by Sri Lanka and Nepal. The progress of Pakistan is comparatively very slow.

Global Hunger Index Score

Prevalence of under five mortality rate in south Asia

Bangaladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka have reduced their mortality rate of children under five years by 67 per cent, 64 per cent and 59 per cent respectively between 1990 and 2013, acceding to the report. All the three countries performed comparatively better as compared to India and China. India reduced its undernourished population by 46 per cent while Pakistan by 41 per cent.

Global Hunger Index Score


Global hunger index 2013 

Global access to nutrition index 2013

Hunger report 2013

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