India is Home to 40% of Malnourished Children: Expert

India has hogged the limelight in the Internationals arena due to the astounding growth rates that it has registered in the last decade or so. While the major economies of the world have reeled under the latest recession of 2008, India has been able to keep its head above the water.

India, the second most populous country in the world, boasts of having bridged the gap between the rich and the poor. At the same time, it professes that the proportion of poor in the country has reduced in the last couple of decades.

The country forms part of the BRICS countries which have become a lucrative destination for almost all business houses.

Amongst this rosy picture, lays a gory truth, reveals a global health expert. The prosperity has not been able to control the number of malnourished children in the country.

Thus when it comes to health and welfare of children in the country, it is not even remotely close to other countries like Brazil and China.

Poor Implementation of Policies
M G Venkatesh Mannar, president of Canada-based NGO Micronutrient Initiative, blames the state of affairs on the poor implementation of government policies. According to this NGO, India comprises of two-fifth of the world’s malnourished population. The country also has the highest rate of underweight children in the world.

“India has the highest rates of stunted growth, underweight and anaemia in children. And the most ironic part is that India has all the programs and policies required to handle the problem but then there is no proper implementation,” rued Mannar, who is one of the co-authors of the 2013 Lancet series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition.

No National Family Health Survey Since 2005
Mannar opined that lack of co-ordination between the state governments and the centre led to failure in implementation of policies. He was appalled by the fact that the National Family Health Survey had not been conducted in India since 2005. Thus the country was basing its policies and decisions on old figures without even knowing whether the condition had improved or deteriorated.

“India just needs to get into action otherwise there will be severe consequences. What would all that economic growth mean if the new generation turns unproductive and perform below the world standards?” questioned Mannar.

These findings and opinions must be given due weight given the fact that they come from Venkatesh Mannar, the person who has been honoured with Canada’s highest civilian award ‘The Order of Canada’.

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