India tops World Hunger List, 194 million undernourished


India has the unfortunate distinction of being the country to have the maximum number of undernourished people (nearly 194.6 million), surpassing China (which comes at the second position with 133.8 million) by a large margin, according to the latest report by the UN.

Titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015’, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the report gives an overview of the global nutrition and hunger situation.

India saw a considerable reduction in the number of undernourished people from 210.1 million in 1990-92 to 194.6 million in 2014-15. However, China showed a better improvement in comparison to India, from 289 million in 1990-92 to 133.8 million in 2014-15. Pakistan featured at the third place with 41.4 million undernourished people. India’s several social campaigns are expected to bring significant reduction in the number of undernourished over a period of time.

At the global level, the figure dropped to 795 million in 2014-15 from the earlier recorded 1 billion 25 years ago, with China accounting for the most number of reductions.

Majority of the countries – 72 out of 129 – have been able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the number of undernourished to nearly half by 2015. The percentage of hungry people in the developing nation declined to 12.9 per cent from 23.3 in 1990-92.
In the World Food Summit held in 1996, all countries had committed to half the number of undernourished by 2015, but only 29 countries managed to meet the ambitious goal set earlier. The report mentioned names of Latin America, Caribbean, South East and Central Asia as well as some parts of Africa for their noticeable progress in meeting their specific goals.

There has been an overall economic growth recorded in the developing countries, including China and India, but the higher economic growth hasn’t resulted in the higher food consumption and better diet, which means that the poor have not benefitted comparably with the overall economic growth.
The report further added that the rural population made a higher percentage of the hungry and undernourished people all over the world. There should be an exclusive effort to promote growth in agriculture and rural sector to contribute in positive outcome.

In the Global Hunger Index report published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and some NGOs, India ranked 55th in 2014, which was an improvement from its earlier ranking of 63rd.