It is really a matter of national shame that in a nation which boasts of world’s second fastest growing economy, 42 percent children suffer from malnutrition. This figure assumes a more unhealthy look when the same figure is interpreted as such that one in every three malnourished child in the world is from India. Releasing a report on Hunger and Malnutrition survey, the Prime Minister said though child nutrition is on a decline, the prevailing levels are still unacceptable. This statement, however, is not satisfactory as merely highlighting the grievousness of a problem will not serve the purpose. And this fact has found resonance in many cases. With the Prime Minister accepting we can no longer solely rely on the Integrated Child Development Scheme to arrest the problem of malnutrition; it is but natural to question him about the new government initiatives in this regard. As the Integrated Child Development Scheme has been able to lower malnutrition only by 2.7 percent in a year, it is the need of the hour to implement novel and effective measures to curb the menace. The health issue has registered a mere 7 percent decline in the last seven years. This clearly shows the ineptness of the implemented measures to overcome the problem of malnutrition. The Indian government should have gauged the gravity of the problem long back as the index of the United Nations Human Development has been, from time to time, pointing out that India surpasses even the poor African countries when it comes to wretched condition of children and women suffering from malnutrition.

The Prime Minister’s concern over the malnutrition and hunger report by an Indian institute is a welcome gesture. However, until the state governments realise their responsibility of solving this problem, the situation will not improve. The Central and the state governments need to strengthen the system of social development plans along with bringing awareness in the society. Definitely the root cause of malnutrition is the deficiency of nutritional diet faced by the poor and needy. In addition, their lack of knowledge about their health is another reason. It is also ironic to note that various sources are hinting at the critical crisis of malnutrition in our country whereas huge quantity of grains is rotting in the absence of adequate number of storage houses. Recently, the farmers in Punjab dumped several tonnees of potato on roads. This was done at a time when potato prices in other parts of the country were sky high owing to inflation. Clearly, hunger and malnutrition can be tackled only when all the weaker links are joined and strengthened together.