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Make steady nutrition grants to reap demographic dividend

  • Published
    9th Dec, 2023

Context:

Anaemia is another severe public health problem among women, adolescent girls and young children.

Malnutrition's Ongoing Impact

  • Global Economic Concerns: Malnutrition hinders India's global potential, impacting human resources and development, exacerbated by recent crises.
  • Alarming Statistics: Despite progress in poverty reduction, malnutrition persists, affecting 14.9% of Indians, with 30% attributed to nutritional deprivation.
  • Long-Term Consequences: Malnutrition, especially in children, can lead to physical and mental development issues, emphasizing the need for sustained interventions.

State-Level Disparities and Anaemia Challenge

  • State-Wise Malnutrition Variation: NFHS 4 and NFHS 5 comparisons reveal inter-year shifts, exposing variations, and highlighting the absence of single-digit malnutrition rates.
  • Anaemia's Pervasive Impact: Anaemia, linked to cognitive and physical health issues, remains a challenge; maternal mortality reduction is possible with proper intervention.
  • Policy Recommendations: The 15th Finance Commission's grant and existing schemes aim to address malnutrition, but a sustained, focused approach is crucial at both central and state levels.

Urgent Need for Sectoral Reconsideration

  • Budgetary Challenges: Nutrition schemes' budgetary fluctuations impact outcomes; a consistent, sector-specific allocation is needed for effective malnutrition elimination.
  • Economic Benefits of Investment: Global studies reveal a 16:1 benefit-cost ratio for nutrition investments; the 16th Finance Commission should reconsider sectoral grants.
  • Holistic Approach Needed: Schemes like SakshamAnganwadi and Poshan 2.0 must be complemented with sustained financial support to address current and future malnutrition challenges.
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