India’s children under pressure

India has been ranked at 103 out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2018 with hunger level in the country categorised as serious. Unfortunately, the country’s ranking has dropped three places from last year. According to report one in five Indian children under age of five are wasted which means they have extremely low weight for their height, indicating acute undernutrition. Even as the government has been making tall claims about reaching out to every section of the society with developmental schemes, the report’s revelations are shocking and calls for major corrective action. Four main indicators are used to calculate hunger levels globally. India unfortunately lagging behind China (25th), Nepal (72nd), Myanmar (68th), Sri Lanka (67th) and Bangladesh (86th). It is only above Pakistan (106th). According to report prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, India is among the 45 countries that have serious levels of hunger. In 2017 India was ranked at the 100th position. Zero is the best score and a reading above 100 is the worst, which signifies that a country’s undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality are at the highest level. There is no doubt that with massive corruption, dishonesty in the governance the welfare schemes are not reaching out to the targeted section and the vulnerable section like children appears to be worst affected.
No doubt, if our children are wasted, the country’s future will be in peril. The first indicator is undernourishment, which is the share of the population which is undernourished and reflects insufficient caloric intake. The next three indicators use data for children under five: child wasting (low weight for height), reflecting acute under-nutrition; child stunting (low height for age), reflecting chronic under-nutrition; and child mortality. India has shown improvement in three of the indicators over the comparable reference years. The percentage of undernourished people in the population has dropped from 18.2% in 2000 to 14.8% in 2018. The child mortality rate has halved from 9.2% to 4.3%, while child stunting has dropped from 54.2% to 38.4% over the same period. However, the prevalence of child wasting has actually worsened in comparison to previous reference years. It stood at 17.1% in 2000, and increased to 20% in 2005. In 2018, it stands at 21%. South Sudan’s child wasting prevalence is at 28%.

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