UN: India made progress in fighting child deaths, malnutrition, but short of goals

United Nations: India has made progress on the twin fronts of reducing hunger and child mortality but is still short of development goals, two international reports say.

Fewer Indian children under five are dying, with infant mortality rate coming down from 126 per 1,000 in 1990 to 53 last year, a UN report released in New York said. And according to a Food and Agriculture Organisation report released in Rome, between 1990-1992 and now there are 21 million fewer hungry people in India.

malnutrition

However, both reports also show how much needs to be done, sketching despite the progress a bleak scenario. On both fronts, India is lagging behind the Millennium Development Goal targets set for 2015.

The 2015 target for infant mortality is 42 per thousand against 53 now, making it unlikely India will reach the target.

Halving the proportion of the hungry people between 1990 and 2015 was the target, but there has only been a reduction of 9.5 percent.

The Millennium Development Goals were adopted at the UN Millenium Summit in 2000 and set targets to be achieved by 2015 in eight areas ranging from malnutrition to environment.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, who visited India last week, remarked on the nation's efforts to combat hunger, saying that India has recently approved its National Food Security Act scaling up the country's effort to end hunger, could create one of the world's biggest family farming food purchase programme and was scaling up financial inclusion for direct transfers.”

Globally, mortality rate for children under five has dropped by 49 percent between 1990 and 2013. Mickey Chopra, head of Unicef's global health programmes, said, “There has been dramatic and accelerating progress in reducing mortality among children, and the data prove that success is possible even for poorly resourced countries.”

However, according to the UN report, “New Estimates in Levels and Trends in Child Mortality,” the overall progress is still short of meeting the global target of cutting under-five mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. Last year, 6.3 million children under five died from mostly preventable causes.

Even though that is 200,000 fewer deaths than in 2012, it still means that 17,000 children die everyday, the report said.

FAO's report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014”, estimates that, around the world, 805 million people were chronically undernourished in 2012-14. This meant, however, that their number is down by 100 million over the last decade, and 209 million less than in 1990-92.

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