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

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Deploying the Power of Social Protection to Improve Nutrition

The nutritional status of women and children in India continues to be poor. In this paper, we discuss how three major flagship social protection government programmes—the Targeted Public Distribution System, the Mid-day Meal Scheme, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act—can be made more nutrition sensitive. We discuss three potential approaches to making these programmes deliver better nutrition outcomes. These are strengthening governance and operations so that the programmes achieve their basic goals of improving food security and poverty; integrating nutrition goals and actions for each of these programmes; and leveraging the reach and scale of these programmes to also deliver specific nutrition interventions via these programmes, especially the tpds.

Linkages between Poverty Reduction Strategies and Child Nutrition

This article reviews the evidence on the rate of economic growth and reduction in malnutrition and shows that, while economic growth clearly translates into improved nutrition, this happens at a modest rate; the percentage decline in malnutrition is roughly half the rate at which GNP per capita grows. Governments which focus on growth as a means to address nutrition will require an extra generation to make substantial inroads compared to governments which successfully implement nutritional programmes. Thus, the commonly held belief that nutrition programmes are welfare interventions that use resources that could profitably be used to raise national incomes is a myth; investments in nutrition are among the most profitable available.
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