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Despite growth, India still hungry and undernourished


India’s struggle against the problem of hunger and malnutrition and continuous search for solution to eradicate the same is on for decades. It was expected that the economic growth of the nation would bring in some respite, but the problem is so deep rooted that even the economic boost could offer no solution.

Recently, the Harvard School of Public Health has come up with a study that unveils the problem of undernourishment despite the impressive economic growth in India. The study also brought in to the notice that if government uses its growing revenues in development campaigns, slowly the problem can be curbed.

States like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are under the strong grip of the problem of hunger, as per the report. Whereas, condition in Mizoram, Manipur and several parts of Kerala is still better as compared to other parts of the nation. The study analysed economic and children's growth patterns from data based on the National Family Health Surveys on 77,326 Indian children in 1992-93, 1998-99 and 2005-06.

Problem of malnourishment and hunger gives rise to many other problems like of infant mortality and poor physical growth. With such a condition prevailing in the nation, achieving the targets of millennium development goal seems a far fetched dream. Given that undernutrition between 6 and 59 months of age contributes to about 25-50 per cent of the mortality in that age group, reducing under nutrition is crucial to achieving the goals.

Write to d-sector  |  Editor's Note

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Human Development  > Food > Hunger and Malnutrition

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Invest in nutrition as rising prices hit poor: WFP
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Data on Malnutrition
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Data on global hunger and malnutrition
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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