India loses 4% GDP due to malnutrition; here’s how it can reverse the trend

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As India awaits Union Budget 2018, a research report revealed that the nation loses about 4 percent of its GDP due to malnutrition and criticised allocation of finances, saying “women and children deserve a better deal in expenditure outlay”.

A joint paper published by Assocham and consultancy firm EY underlines data from the National Family Health Survey-4. According to it, close to 60 percent of children in India aged between 6 – 59 months are anaemic. Only about 10 percent of the country’s total children are receiving adequate diet.

The paper also showcased the condition of women and girl child for whom the NDA Government has launched flagship programmes. They are “no better in terms of their daily nutrition intake. About 55 per cent of non-pregnant women and 58 per cent of pregnant women aged between aged 15-49 years are anaemic,” the research paper said.

A large part of India continues to consume non-nutritious, non-balanced food, said the report adding that the adverse, irreversible and inter-generational impacts of malnutrition make optimal nutrition critical to the development of the country as a whole and all its citizens.

Speaking on the finding of the report, ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said, the government needs to pursue policies which “focus on removing health and social inequities. Programmes and policies that aim to address the nutrition burden present a double – win situation”.

The Assocham report also suggested the solution for the issue. It said that in order to cater to the large unmet needs of micro-nutrients, it is “imperative to focus on production diversity as well as food fortification at a macro level.”moneycontrol