Undernutrition accompanied by poverty continues to be one of the greatest threats in India. India comes under the ‘alarming category’ of hunger, which is highest among the world. Identifying the poverty and nutritional security aspects, Dr G. Sridevi, Associate Professor, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad, at a webinar conducted by Gender Impact Studies Centre (GISC), IMPRI, New Delhi, pointed out that under nutrition is a multidimensional aspect linked with purchasing power, social behaviour, livelihood sources and survival struggles of people.
The key takeaways from the session – Poverty and Nutritional Security among Women and Children: Challenges and the Way Forward for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
- The widening unequal distribution of nutrition among male and female.
- Prevalence of anaemia among women due to poor nutritional facility leading to reduced productivity and infections.
- Persistent rates of undernourishment among poor and the vulnerable especially SC/ST children
- A positive correlation on the mother’s education and the nutritional status of the children.
- Lack of non nutritional components like access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation facilities etc aggravating the situation.
- Shifting trend in the consumption pattern from the cereals and vegetables to meat denoting the unavailability of food grains.
- The need for economic accessibility to food grains along with physical availability and accessibility.
- Discouraging cash transfers and promoting transfers in kind to ensure the effectiveness of distribution.
The observation that the incidence of poverty is increasing in spite of grandiose development plans and huge allocations reflects the lack or inadequacy of political commitment at the highest levels and wasteful delivery machinery appears validated. Policies must be translated into action plans and timely implemented. In essence, she stated that the problem of the gaps between the evidence and the policy needs to be bridged as the magnitude of the problem, the issue of malnutrition has not received enough attention in public debates and electoral politics.