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

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Manipulation by Association

Much of India's nutrition agenda is being driven by the private sector through public-private partnerships and so-called multi-stakeholder dialogues. The new strategies of transnational corporations fall under the category of manipulation by association, where they establish their role and legitimacy by associating themselves with key institutions and people. A prime example of this is the influential 2013 series on maternal and child nutrition published by the Lancet. This comment analyses the issue and proposes some solutions.

Education of Children with Disabilities in India

Illiteracy levels are high across all categories of disability and very high for children with visual, multiple and mental disabilities compared to national averages. Generating awareness that the disabled have full rights to appropriate education in mainstream schools and that it is the duty of those involved in administration at every level, including schools, to ensure that they have access to education is of utmost importance.

Adult Under-Nutrition in India

The nutritional performance of adult women in India, at present, parallels a situation referred to famously as The Asian Enigma. Ramalingaswami, Jonsson and Rohde (1996) deployed this term to refer to the prevalence of higher levels of child undernutrition in south Asia, despite its much better performance in economic and social spheres, than Sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis established that the Asian enigma was essentially a “low birth weight enigma”, as the exceptionally high level of low birth weight was found to be the primary reason for the much higher incidence of under-nutrition, especially stunting, in south Asia than Sub-Saharan Africa (Osmani and Bhargava 1998). The low birth weight of babies relates essentially to the poor nutritional status of women (mothers, to be specific), which in itself has become a source for yet another enigmatic situation.

Wealth and Health of Children in India

What are the relationships between wealth and children's health in India's states that are as populous as many other countries? Presenting a state-level analysis of the association between state net domestic product per capita and three children's health indicators, this paper describes how these relationships differ in the last two rounds of the National Family Health Survey. It finds evidence that the cross-sectional relationships between aggregate wealth and children's health indicators are positive, yet the association was less steep in the mid-2000s than in the late 1990s. It also finds a negative relationship between growth in SNDP per capita and improvement in state-level children's health indicators. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the kinds of investments which improve health may lead to economic growth, rather than vice versa.

Evaluating the Social Orientation of the Integrated Child Development Services Programme

Examining who the beneficiaries are of the Integrated Child Development Services programme, an spect that has been neglected, this paper presents econometric estimates regarding the relative strength of personal and household circumstances in determining the likelihood of utilising the programme's services. These estimates suggest that inter-group differences in utilisation rates have less to do with characteristics and much more to do with group identity. The paper also suggests a trade-off between quality and utilisation by hypothesising that the poor quality of services leads upper-caste mothers to exit the ICDS market and seek these services elsewhere.

Mid-Day Meals and Beyond

Siddheshwar Shukla’s article “Mid-Day Meal: Nutrition on Paper, Poor Food on the Plate” (EPW, 15 February 2014) was insightful. It highlights some pressing concerns through facts and f­igures on an issue which deals with the physical well-being of children. Nutritious food to schoolchildren is an...

Are Children in West Bengal Shorter Than Children in Bangladesh?

Children in West Bengal and Bangladesh are presumed to share the same distribution of genetic height potential. In West Bengal they are richer, on average, and are therefore slightly taller. However, when wealth is held constant, children in Bangladesh are taller. This gap can be fully accounted for by differences in open defecation, and especially by open defecation in combination with differences in women's status and maternal nutrition.

Mid-Day Meal

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is the world's biggest school lunch programme and is being implemented all over India for primary and upper primary school students. However, nutrition and hygiene are now among the main challenges it faces. Out of 876 test reports of mid-day meal samples in Delhi from 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2013, more than 90% failed to meet the standard of 12 gms of protein and 450 calories. A number of loopholes in the scheme need to be plugged if nutritious food, not just something cooked, is to reach the plates of poor students.

Re-Estimating Malnourishment and Inequality among Children in North-east India

This article re-estimates the prevalence of child malnutrition among the under-five age group in eight north-east states using the composite index of anthropometric failure method as proposed by P Svedberg, using the National Family Health Survey-3 data. These data show that in the north-east only about 35% of children under-five are underweight. However, results using the CIAF method indicate a substantially higher malnutrition level of 56%, and evidence of wide interstate differentials by socio-economic and demographic indicators.

A Tragedy Unfolding

The continuing deaths of infants and children due to malnutrition in Attappady, the only tribal block in Kerala, reflects the state government’s apathy towards addressing issues germane to the tribals residing in the region.

Human Development and Civic Community in India

This paper tries to show that the central methodology of Robert Putnam's Making Democracy Work can be fruitfully applied to the study of the Indian states. It reports some of the results of the author's replication of Putnam's Italian study for the states. While a clear relationship can be demonstrated between state government performance in development and levels of civic engagement, it is harder to replicate Putnam's findings concerning the crucial role of social capital. In the Indian context, levels of education are more important and the implications of this unexpected result are addressed.

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