Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched another attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, saying that India's poor is hungry because the government is busy "filling the pockets of some its special friends."

His attack came as the Global Hunger Index 2020 report released on Friday ranked India at 94 among 107 countries. India was ranked 102 out of 117 countries in the 2019 ranking while it was placed at 103th position in the list of 119 countries in 2018.

The latest GHI report puts worldwide hunger at a "moderate" level, and termed "serious" for India.

India has improved its performance over the years with a score of 38.9 in 2000 to 27.2 in 2020. A score of less than 9.9 signifies on GHI indicates "low" hunger while the score of of 10-19.9 represents "moderate" levels of hunger. A score of 20-34.9 points to "serious" hunger while 35-39.9 signifies "alarming" and over 50 "extremely alarming" levels of hunger, as per the GHI.

The report said that data from 1991 through 2014 for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan showed that stunting is concentrated among children from households facing multiple forms of deprivation, including poor dietary diversity, low levels of maternal education, and household poverty.

It also said that despite declines in recent years, child mortality in South Asia is still unacceptably high, with improvements in child nutrition needed. The mortality rate of children under age five in South Asia as of 2018 was 4.1%, compared with 9.2% in 2000.

"India—the region’s most populous country—experienced a decline in under-five mortality in this period, driven largely by decreases in deaths from birth asphyxia or trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea. However, child mortality caused by prematurity and low birthweight increased, particularly in poorer states and rural areas. Prevention of prematurity and low birthweight is identified as a key factor with the potential to reduce under-five mortality in India, through actions such as better antenatal care, education, and nutrition as well as reductions in anemia and oral tobacco use (Million Death Study Collaborators 2017)," the report added.

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Free Press Journal