The Wages of Low Public Spending on Child Nutrition Programmes -Reetika Khera

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published Published on Apr 2, 2021   modified Modified on Apr 3, 2021

Stagnant government funding and mis-allocation of available resources in recent years are together resulting in limited improvements in levels of child nutrition, anaemia and mortality.

Last December the results of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) from 2015-16 hit the headlines. And the news was not good. In a world where children mattered, the logical outcome would have been for the government to course correct in the budget to be presented two months later. Instead, in the Union Budget for 2021-22, essential and time-bound services for mothers and children are being further starved of funds.

The NFHS is a source of valuable information on a variety of indicators of people’s wellbeing – from health and nutrition indicators to experience of domestic violence and the reach of essential public services.

Between NFHS-2 (1998-9) and NHFS-3 (2005-6), key indicators of children nutrition (the proportion who are underweight and stunted for their age) did not show much improvement. Facing flak for those results, the reaction of the then (United Progressive Alliance-2) government was to scuttle the next round of the survey. Owing to continuing pressure, NFHS-4 was finally conducted in 2015-16. For 10 years, on key indicators related to people’s wellbeing India did not have any reliable and nationally representative surveys.

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