New Delhi: Indian has been ranked 102nd on the Global Hunger Index 2019 — one rank higher than 2018. This is an index of about 117 countries in which Pakistan (94), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (66), Nepal (73) and China (25) have fared better than India in 2019.

The countries are evaluated on four key indicators — undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting. Child wasting is ‘low weight for height’ at a particular age which is a reflector of undernourishment. Wasting is most prevalent in Yemen, Djibouti and India, the report said. In India, child wasting is the highest. Only 9.6 per cent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed with a minimum acceptable diet.

“Because of its large population, India’s GHI indicator values have an outsized impact on the indicator values for the region. India’schild wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 per cent—the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available. Its child stunting rate, 37.9 per cent, is also categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance. In India, just 9.6 per cent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet,” the report said.

The report acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India campaign. “In 2014 the prime minister instituted the “Clean India” campaign to end open defecation and ensure that all households had latrines. Even with new latrine construction, however, open defecation is still practised. This situation jeopardizes the population’s health and consequently children’s growth and development as their ability to absorb nutrients is compromised,” it said.

In 2015, India made a remarkable improvement as it was ranked 93.