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

Articles By Sunny Jose

Alarming Hunger in India

Does the Global Hunger Index convey the actual picture of hunger in India? While there are methodological issues in the measurement of calorific undernourishment, India’s performance remains poor in tackling child undernutrition, but not so in child mortality. The varying performance in the three domains calls for an objective assessment and targeted remedial measures in aspects where performance is poor.

Of Access and Inclusivity

Can online education enable all students to participate in and benefit from it equally? Massive online education without addressing the huge access gap and disparities in digital infrastructure would not only exclude a vast majority of students from learning opportunities but also exacerbate the existing socio-economic disparities in educational opportunities.

Child Undernutrition in India

The child undernutrition estimates from the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey, 2016–18 reveal that many Indian states have made substantial decline, reversing their poor past record in wasting, ranging from 7 to 14 percentage points within just 30 months. Is it really possible to make such a large decline in such a short span of time? Or, does this point to an anomaly in data or estimation?

New Reservation Policy

Is the reservation policy earmarking a 10% quota for the economically weaker sections of the “general category” empirically founded and justifiable? An analysis of 445 premier higher education institutions finds that this section of students already had about 28% of representation—that is, close to three times the proposed 10% quota—in these institutions in 2016–17. This finding raises questions as to the relevance and possible impact of the proposed policy.

Child Undernutrition in India

Analysing the latest National Family Health Survey-4 (2015–16) data, an assessment of the prevalence and decline in child undernutrition in India between 2005–06 and 2015–16 is undertaken. Despite a moderate decline in child undernutrition during this period, more than one-third of children under five years are stunted and underweight. A large, graded socio-economic disparity in child undernutrition continues. Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Mizoram emerge as better performers in reducing child undernutrition. While north-eastern states have done well in reducing underweight prevalence, Tripura, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh have performed better in reducing stunting. About 80% of high stunting prevalence (above 40%) districts belong to eight states, that also house 90% of high underweight prevalence districts.

Adult Undernutrition in India: Is There a Huge Gender Gap?

The prevalence of discrimination against women along with the absence of data led to an assumption that a large gender gap existed in adult undernutrition in India. The availability for the first time of comparable all-India nutritional data for men and women enables us to examine the empirical basis of this belief. The analysis suggests that a huge gender gap in iron deficiency anaemia coexists with an absence of a gender gap in chronic energy deficiency. While gender gap in anaemia is a combined outcome of biological and social factors, the absence of gender gap in ced goes along with a stark socio-economic inequity in India.

Social Infrastructure and Women's Undernutrition

We examine whether access to aspects of social infrastructure, such as toilet facilities, drinking water on the premises and clean cooking fuels, leads to a decline in the incidence of undernutrition among women, which remains quite high in India. The analysis, based on the National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-06) unit-level data, suggests that access to these three aspects of social infrastructure is likely to enhance women's nutrition in India. Of these three aspects, the influence of access to clean cooking fuels remains quite significant. The findings, which assume importance from multiple angles, underline the importance of policies and programmes that ensure access to social infrastructure to the poor, in general, and poor women, in particular.