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

Chandrika SinghSubscribe to Chandrika Singh

Public Investment for Addressing Childhood Wasting in Maharashtra and Karnataka

Maharashtra and Karnataka are among the most financially well-off states in India. Yet, they are home to 15% of all wasted children under five years of age in the country. Over the last decade (between National Family Health Survey-3 and NFHS-4), wasting levels among children in the two states have increased sharply. Investment by the two states in select nutrition interventions for addressing wasting remains low, with inconsistent budget outlays over the period between 2014–15 and 2018–19.

Fiscal Challenges in Scaling Up Nutrition Interventions

Four states—Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh—together account for around 45% of stunted children in India. The existing literature makes a case for delivery of a host of specific interventions referred to as the direct nutrition interventions, along with sector-wise or systemic interventions, to bring about significant reductions in prevalence of stunting among children. An analysis of the delivery of DNIs in the said states shows that apart from the decline in fiscal priority for the DNIs during 2014–15 to 2017–18, there are also significant resource gaps for some of these interventions, which underscores the need for enhancing fiscal priority for these interventions.

Delivering Nutrition to Pregnant Women

To reduce the burden of maternal undernutrition in India, select nutrition interventions are delivered to pregnant women at scale through the National Health Mission. But in Purnea, a district in Bihar, delivery is constrained by poor planning and budgeting, delayed fund flow, and shortage of infrastructure and human resources; and funds are underutilised.
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