2009-10-16 15:45:21

Half of India's children malnourished, says NGO report

(October 16, 2009) As the world observed World Food Day on Friday, India, with 47 percent of its children under the age of six malnourished, ranked below countries like Bangladesh and Nepal on the state of hunger, a report says. According to the report by ActionAid, an international NGO, India stood at the 22nd spot amongst a list of 51 countries, like Australia, Britain, the US, Nepal and Bangladesh. Anne Jellema, ActionAid's international policy director, talking about the report, said: "It is the role of the state and not the level of wealth, that determines progress on hunger." India's case showed a lot of contrasts. While the country ranked amongst the first three developing countries on the indicator for social protection, because of poor implementation over 30 million Indians have joined the ranks of hungry since mid-1990s, the study revealed. Babu Matthew, country director for ActionAid India, said: "The dark side of India's economic growth has been that the excluded social groups have been further marginalised, compounding their hunger, malnutrition and even leading to starvation deaths." Meanwhile, China has been able to cut numbers of its hungry people by 58 million in ten years through strong state support for small farmers, the report said. India ranks sixth among developing nations in terms of legal framework for addressing hunger and food rights. Brazil is ranked first under this parameter. The ActionAid report said that India has some of the best legislations for social protection amongst the developing nations on nutrition, free school meals, employment guarantee, and food subsidy for the poor and pension for vulnerable groups.

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