The Union Budget 2019-20 saw an increased focus on food fortification. India is currently suffering from nutrition insecurity despite the progress made in food production capacity and food security. Regardless of all the poverty alleviation and food security schemes, currently, 38% of children under 5 years are stunted, 36% are underweight and 21% are wasted (too thin for their height). This is a sign of acute under-nutrition. Furthermore, 59% of women and 53% of children are anaemic. The government's intervention to address this issue is a need of the hour.
Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, 2019 – report that was recently published showed the bleak picture of the hunger and malnutrition amongst children in India. Regardless of all measures taken by the Indian government to ensure economic growth, implementation of numerous government schemes to eradicate poverty and malnutrition, undernourishment remains high among the poor in Indian society. If the situation is not addressed soon, the aspiration to achieve SDG-2 may become far more difficult.
The Public Distribution System, India’s landmark food security system, was commenced in 1944 to address the poverty that was affecting the country during that time. It is a vital instrument that ensures the availability of certain essential commodities at an affordable price for the poor. Regardless, this system is often criticized for its inefficiency and corruption. The low-quality food grains from the ration shops are not enough to address the needs of the poor. India has the largest stock of grains in the world besides China. Yet, 21% of the Indian population remains undernourished. The government must address the corruption, inefficiency and low-quality food grains of the PDS for its success.
Since 2018, India’s working-age population has grown larger than the dependent population consisting of children and senior citizens. This youth bulge is going to last for 37 years. However, the current economic slowdown has led to layoffs, growth decline in various sectors and joblessness. Necessary steps like policy support and reforms must be taken to make full utilisation of India’s demographic dividend to promote the growth and development of the economy.
The J.K Lone Hospital in Kota, Rajasthan is seeing an increasing number of deaths of infants. Amid the outrage caused by the infants’ death, disturbing figures of similar deaths emerged from Jodhpur and Bikaner as well as Rajkot and Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Reports indicate that the cause for these increasing infant deaths is the poor quality of infrastructure in public hospitals. The low-quality public healthcare has a huge impact on the nation’s Infant mortality rate – the indicator of the quality of a country’s healthcare system.