An estimated 42 per cent of the children in India are malnourished and underweight, an unacceptably high occurrence, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said while releasing the Hunger and Malnutrition Survey Report 2011.
The problem of malnutrition is a matter of national shame and it has been persisting despite impressive growth in our GDP. The level of under-nutrition in the country is unacceptably high. We have also not succeeded in reducing this rate fast enough, he said.
India has nearly 16 crore children below the age of 6 years who, in the years to come, will join its workforce as scientists, as farmers, as teachers, as data operators, as artisans, as service providers. Several of them will become social workers as well he pointed out.
''The health of our economy and society lies in the health of this generation. We cannot hope for a healthy future for our country with a large number of malnourished children,'' the prime minister said.
The HUNGaMA survey report has been brought out jointly by the Citizen's Alliance Against Malnutrition, the Nandi Foundation, Mahindra & Mahindra and other partners and supporters of the Alliance. The survey covered more than 73,000 households in 112 districts across nine states in the country.
The survey reports high levels of malnutrition, but it also indicates that one child in five has reached an acceptable healthy weight during the last seven years in 100 focus districts. This 20 per cent decline in malnourishment in the last seven years is better than the rate of decline reported in National Family Health Survey – 3, the prime minister pointed out.