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

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Health and Nutrition of India’s Labour Force and COVID-19 Challenges

Can the “post-COVID-19 normal” emerge better for India’s food supply and demand management, with a clear goal of zero hunger? Presently contributing one-third of the global undernutrition burden, a daunting challenge that the country must overcome now is of resuming broader based economic growth with a healthy labour force. Given this, India needs a data-driven exit and post-exit strategy from the COVID-19 lockdown that will not only mitigate the immediate food crisis faced by millions of poor households, but also reduce the long-term structural bottlenecks that limit poor households’ access to food.

Can Biofortified Crops Reduce Malnutrition in Bihar?

There was a high prevalence of malnutrition among over a hundred children who suffered and succumbed to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur in 2019. Central and state governments were criticised for not doing enough to reduce the impact of the outbreak and, more generally, the prevalence of malnutrition among low-income groups. Biofortified projects can offer a method to achieve greater food security. These projects can be implemented effectively by making changes to pre-existing food security schemes at the level of procurement, distribution, and delivery.

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?

What Is the Effective Delivery Mechanism of Food Support in India?

The public distribution system is the cornerstone of anti-poverty initiatives in India to address the issue of hunger and malnutrition, but is plagued with leakages and corruption. Though several possible reasons account for these problems, one factor that is generally overlooked is the lack of assessment of the preference of the beneficiaries in terms of product portfolio, selection, and delivery mechanisms. Through a mixed methods analysis across Bihar, Odisha and (eastern) Uttar Pradesh, this paper assesses the factors explaining the diversity in the preference for the delivery mechanism. What would be a straightforward choice problem among delivery mechanisms turns out to be far more intricate when mediated by contextual heterogeneity and unequal power relations at different levels. The results highlight the centrality of demand and build a case for demand assessment in improving the effectiveness of the system.

Hidden Hunger, Burdened Women

Reminiscent of poverty debates, serious undernutrition in India risks becoming a measurement quibble, unless we talk about unequal development gains and the answerability of governments towards less empowered citizens. Based on the simple counting of food consumed by 240 households and conversations with women, this article explores the contrast between local knowledge of what constitutes a “good diet” and the deficient meals consumed by people in Odisha, a state in eastern India. Effective interventions need to look beyond “maternal responsibility” and address entitlement uncertainties and gender inequality, in order to ensure essential nutrition and good health of vulnerable groups such as women and children.

India’s Slip on Global Hunger Index

After witnessing an improvement from 2008 to 2014, India’s rank on Global Hunger Index slipped in 2016. This slip is attributed to reformulation of GHI to encompass the multidimensional character of malnutrition, wherein underweight was replaced by stunting and wasting. While GHI scores of several other countries witnessed a decline, India fared worse. This is explained through a stickiness in child stunting levels in India attributed to gendered norms, poor sanitation, and high regional concentration.

Doubtful Intentions

Nagada village in Jajpur district, Odisha hit the headlines of major news media due to continuous child deaths during the period July–August, 2016.The fact-finding team reports that malnutrition made the children vulnerable to such diseases and instant deaths.

Determinants of Child Malnutrition in Tribal Areas of Madhya Pradesh

A research study conducted in three tribal districts— Alirajpur, Barwani and Khandwa—of Madhya Pradesh, based on a sample of 294 women with their last child in the age-group of six months–five years analyses the status and determinants of malnutrition and child death. Despite certain infant and...

Perpetual Areas of Darkness

Malnutrition deaths in Maharashtra's tribal belt expose indifference of successive governments.

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