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

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Decoding the Three Pandemic Budgets

Despite substantial socio-economic disparities in health, education, and nutrition outcomes, the government is pitching human development expenditure against capital expenditure. In a welfare state, social sector should be the centre of policy prescriptions. Instead of an imperfect assumption of trickle-down, the the government needs to realise that growth and development must go hand in hand.

Policy Landscape for Diet Diversity in India

Diets have become predominantly based on starchy staples as a result of selectively subsidised cereal crops following the green revolution, with little animal products, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This has resulted in an increased burden of malnutrition along with rising micronutrient deficiency. Diet diversity was found to be dependent upon four major factors: availability, affordability, awareness, and utilisation. There is an urgent need to shift food systems and policies for a healthier and nutrient-adequate diet.

An Assessment of the Nutritional Status of India’s Rural Labour since the Early 1980s

India has been on a rising path of economic development since independence, but it is still predominantly rural where 70% of population lives. This paper attempts to analyse changes in living standards of the rural poor, basically rural labour, in terms of nutritional level since the 1980s at all-India and state levels so that correct policy measures may be initiated to improve their lives. By using data from the National Sample Survey Office, it is found that there is, in general, an improvement in nutritional levels of rural labour in India since the 1980s. However, for rural India, the findings of reinforce some of the results of the previous literature. However, recent thick rounds of the National Sample Survey show some improvement in their nutritional level, which is a positive sign.

Gender Budgeting for Sustainable Development in India

The fifth Sustainable Development Goal mandates that India close its gender gap by 2030. An evaluation of gender budgeting as a whole and a diverse range of gender-sensitive interventions under the same (2005–06 to 2020–21) reveals severe shortcomings. First, a low and declining trend has been found in the shares of gender budgeting to total government expenditure, and women-specific schemes to total funds for gender budgeting. Second, the allocation of total funds for various schemes is either stagnating or declining, with some having received no funds over the last two consecutive years. Problems of design too persist, all contributing to a significant gender gap for Indian women vis-à-vis their male counterparts.

Production, Trade and Consumption of Pulses

The Global Economy of Pulses edited by Vikas Rawal and Dorian Kalamvrezos Navarro, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2019; pp xi + 174, price not indicated.

India’s Hunger Pangs

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.

Interpretations and Implications of Increasing Obesity in India

The National Family Health Survey-3 and 4 data show that in the past 10 years, overweight/obesity among women in terms of Body Mass Index has increased quite sharply. In the Indian context, undernutrition and obesity are not separate problems. A large proportion of overweight/obese women are undernourished, with small stature, food transition towards more fats and increasingly sedentary lifestyles making them vulnerable towards being overweight/obese. More diversified diet reduces the risk of overweight/obesity. It is suggested that adequate and good quality diversified diets need to be ensured for comprehensive energy and nutrient adequacy. This requires an overhaul of India’s food programmes.

Millets in the Indian Plate

Millets can play a role in providing nutrition security as they are rich in various macro and micronutrients, and can help to fight various non-communicable diseases. Hence, a suggestion was made to include them in the basket of goods provided through the public distribution system. The findings of this article suggest that, with the present level of production, millets can be provided in some states of India which have culturally grown as well as consumed them. However, scaling this policy to the national level may not be possible unless rigorous measures are undertaken to improve production as well as consumer acceptability.

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.

Rethinking Effective Nutrition Convergence

The National Nutrition Mission has explicitly recognised the multisectoral nature of the challenge of malnutrition and has made “convergence” one of its key pillars. However, it does not yet have sharp operational clarity on how stakeholders can ensure that multiple programmes reach the same mother–child dyad in the first 1,000-day period. The article illustrates how data on co-coverage of interventions can be used to plan for and assess the success of efforts to strengthen convergence.

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