INDIA’S Premier Dr Manmohan Singh called malnutrition in the country “a national shame” today as he released a major survey that found 42 per cent of children under five were underweight.

“I repeat that the problem of malnutrition is a matter of national shame,” Dr Singh said at the launch of the HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Report, which surveyed 73,000 households across nine states.

“Despite impressive growth in our GDP, the level of under-nutrition in the country is unacceptably high. We have also not succeeded in reducing this rate fast enough,” the 79-year-old prime minister added.

Dr Singh said the findings of the report by an alliance of non-government organisations were both “worrying and encouraging.”

Malnutrition among children had come down, he said, but remained an “unacceptably high occurrence.”

“What concerns me is that 42 per cent of our children are still underweight,” he added.

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