Hunger, Under-nutrition and Food Security in India N.C. Saxena Dec 2008
MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty & hunger Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day • percentage of population living below poverty line Target 2: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger • Prevalence of underweight children (under five years of age) • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption
How many hungry or poor in India? • Consumption poverty 28% • Income poverty (1 $ a day) 34% • Hungry (NSSO) 1 to 3% • Calorie deficient (NSSO) 70% • Calorie deficient (FAO) 20% • Body mass index (<18.5) 35% • Malnourished children < 5 years 43% • Hunger Index (IFPRI) 23%
Underlying causes of hunger in India • Falling per capita crop, especially food production in the last 10 years. • Increasing share of surplus states and large farmers in food production, resulting in artificial surplus that is exported, thus further reducing availability of foodgrains. • Increasing inequality, with only marginal increase in the per capita expenditure of the bottom 30%. From their meager income the poor are forced to spend more on medical care, education, transport, fuel, and light, thus reducing the share of their expenditure on food. • Low access of the poor to expensive foods, such as pulses, vegetables, oil, fruits, and meat products which provide essential proteins, fats, and micro-nutrients. This leads to under-development of human body and mind, affecting the ability of individuals to work productively, and resist disease.
Underlying causes (contd.) • Low status of women, their early marriage, low weight at pregnancy and illiteracy low weight of new born babies. • Poor childcare practices: not immediately starting breast-feeding after birth, no exclusively breastfeeding for the first five months, irregular and insufficient complementary feeding afterwards, and lack of quick disposal of child’s excreta. • Poor supply of government services, such as immunisation, access to medical care, and lack of priority to primary health care. Combined with poor food availability, unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation lead to high under-nutrition and permanent damage to their physical and mental capabilities. • Major food related programmes, such as PDS and ICDS are plagued by corruption, leakages, errors in selection, procedural delays, poor allocations and little accountability. They also tend to discriminate against and exclude those who need them most, such as urban poor migrants, street and slum residents, and dispersed hamlets.
Poverty Percentage below poverty line 1973 56 • 39 1994 35 1999 26? 2004 28
1971 1983 1994 2005 Rural 247 250 241 225 Urban 53 67 75 80 Total 300 317 316 305 Urban share 17.7 21.2 23.7 26.2 Number of poor in millions
Recommended and Actual feeding practices • Goal: Initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth • Achievement: 25% • Goal: Exclusive breastfeeding (6 months) • Achievement: 46% • Goal: Feed breast milk or milk products, and feed a minimum number of times from a minimum number of food groups (age 6-23 months) • Achievement: 21%
Feeding Practices during Diarrhoea • Children with diarrhoea should be given more liquids to drink than usual, but only 10% of children with diarrhoea actually receive more liquids and almost 4 in 10 receive less to drink • Children with diarrhoea should continue to be fed, but 45% receive less food than usual or no food at all when they have diarrhoea
Reasons for high malnutrition Early marriage of girls & status of women New born is underweight Poor cultural practices regarding feeding of colostrum, breast and complementary feeding High disease load, especially malaria and diarrhoea Bad quality of water Poor sanitation & no medical attention Migration Mothers go for work leaving children at home Ineffective government intervention Badly designed ICDS programme 27
Strategies required for 6 m to 2+ years • Nutrition and Breast feeding counseling: through addl AWW or ASHA • Shift attention from centre to households • Community based crèches, and on pvt worksites • AWC or NREGA creches: practically non existent • Health care services to combat common illnesses and immunisation • Set up health rehabilitation centres, as in Guna Active involvement of community/panchayat
How much assistance is necessary to wipe-off food insecurity in India? • 28% people are below poverty line • Total number of poor people is 28 crores • They each need 3 kg extra cereal per month, or 36 kg per annum • Hence total requirement is 28x36 crore kg=10 million tonnes GOI distributes 40 million tonnes annually
TPDS - a few suggestions • Universal entitlement to all PTGs and homeless • Involve women’s SHGs, cooperatives, and panchayats • Give shops to those who already have shops • Simplify procedure • Door-step delivery of PDS commodities to shops • Replace ration cards by portable laminated cards • Develop computerised grievance redressal system through a toll-free number • Stakeholder involvement, frequent open door meetings with consumers Ban exports, import more Cover 70% people with BPL/AAY cards Fix APL quota according to population