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70 percent children below 5 are anemic


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As per the National Family Health Survey-3, 2005-06, the percentage of children below the age of 5 with underweight and anemia is 42.5% and 69.5% respectively in the country. The Minister of State (I/C) of Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath stated this in Rajya Sabha.

She said that the problem of malnutrition is multidimensional and intergenerational nature which needs to be tackled through focused and coordinated intervention in areas of food security sanitation and safe drinking water, nutrition, health, family welfare and poverty alleviation and income generation .Since there are multiple determinants of malnutrition, this can not be addressed by single sector scheme or intervention alone. This requires multi sectoral, direct and indirect interventions. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is one of the many schemes which address the problem of malnutrition.

The Minister further stated that ICDS is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, implemented by the State Government / UT Administrations. It provides a package of services including supplementary nutrition to children below six years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers. Supplementary nutrition under the ICDS is primarily designed to bridge the gap between the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and the Average Dietary Intake (ADI) and is not a substitute to any meals to be given to children at home. Beneficiaries under the ICDS are required to be provided Supplementary Nutrition, in accordance with Guidelines issued by Government of India.

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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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