December 2, 2021
Abir Ranjan Biswas makes Special Mention on the need to address growing malnutrition in the country
Globally, at least one-third of the stunted children are in India which implies that India loses 4% of its annual GDP to malnutrition. According to the first round of the NFHS-5 survey, 13 out of 22 states and Union Territories, has shown an increase in the percentage of stunted children below 5 with Gujarat being the highest at 39%. India is the highest in malnutrition in South Asia. Malnutrition is responsible for up to 60% of child mortality in India because weaker children have very poor immunity and are therefore unable to fight infections. The issue of child and maternal malnutrition accounts for 15% of India’s total disease burden.
The budget allocation for the Ministry of Women and Child Development has been slashed by 18.5% which has led to a decline from Rs. 30,007.10 crores in FY 2020-21 to Rs. 24,435 crore in FY 2021-22 thereby affecting adversely all the schemes which includes Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), and National Creche Scheme. In FY 2020-21, the budget allocated separately for ICDS stood at Rs. 20, 532 crore. However, this year ICDS has been clubbed under the Saksham scheme which includes Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, and the National Creche Scheme and the total fund allocated to the Saksham scheme stands at Rs. 20,105 crore which is lower than last year’s allocation which was at Rs. 24,557 crore meant only for Saksham and also less than the 2020-21 budget allocated for ICDS alone.
I urge the government to look into this matter urgently as the issue of malnutrition is waiting to become an impending doom.