India now has the highest number of children stunted due to malnutrition – 48.2 million, equivalent to the population of Colombia, as per the latest global report on childhood. Also, 31 million of its children are a part of its workforce, the highest number in the world.

These two factors, along with early marriage and parenthood and lack of education, have pushed India to 116th position among 172 nations assessed for threats to childhood, according to the recent Stolen Childhoods report by Save the Children, an international non-profit working for marginalised and deprived children.

Globally, 700 million children have had their childhood curtailed early, said the report which was released on June 1, the eve of the international children’s day.

Three of India’s neighbouring countries did better on the index — Sri Lanka was ranked 61, Bhutan, 93 and Myanmar, 112. Nepal (134), Bangladesh (134) and Pakistan (148) fared worse than India.

The index focuses on a set of life-changing events and uses certain indicators to assess countries: mortality among children under five years of age, malnutrition that stunts growth, lack of education, child labour, early marriage, adolescent births, displacement by conflict and child homicide.

India with the highest number of stunted children and child labourers in the world fared badly on most indicators.

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