ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Brinda ViswanathanSubscribe to Brinda Viswanathan

Counting Undernourished Children

The report of the Hunger and Malnutrition Survey, which was conducted between October 2010 and February 2011 to assess the rate of under-nutrition among children under the age of fi ve in 100 focus districts of rural India, makes progress in measuring under-nutrition at the district level in some of the states. It also presents the important fi nding that there has been an overall reduction in underweight rates.

Access to Nutritious Meal Programmes

The 1999-2000 National Sample Survey data indicates that a large majority of children in India from poorer households did not have access to the meal schemes operational in the country. The only exception to this was Tamil Nadu where the schemes seemed to work the best in rural areas in the age group of seven to nine-year olds, without any discernible gender gap and was well targeted among the needy households. Further, among the poorer children, literacy rate and educational attainment were clearly higher when they had access to school meals perhaps implying that school enrolment and attendance improve in the presence of such schemes. This data however showed rather low coverage of Integrated Child Development Scheme among pre-school children across all states indicating problems of under-reporting or under-recording.

Calorie Deprivation in Rural India, 1983-1999/2000

Income poverty has declined over the 1980s and 1990s, but so have calorie intakes so that calorie deprivation in rural India has in fact increased. However, the depth and severity of nutrient deprivation declined, as did the incidence of abject calorie deprivation. Crucially, the results are sensitive to the choice of both calorie norm and poverty measure. The apparent divergence between income- and calorie- poverty trends further underscores the need for fresh debate on the determination both of the calorie norm and the poverty line.
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