Saturday, April 10, 2010

Half of India's Children Are Malnourished

Here's writer and blogger Dilip D'Souza writing in his blog:
"By some estimates, over half of India's children -- something approaching 80 million kids -- are malnourished, the highest number in the world. While reading about this several years ago for something I had to put together, I found a UNICEF report from the early '90s, The Progress of Nations, that did some eye-opening for me.
"It said that the routine explanations for this scale of malnourishment -- poverty, low per capita food production, inequality in incomes, even vegetarian diets -- don't hold up to scrutiny. For Africa shows up significantly worse than India on some of these counts, but only about a third of its children are malnourished. Even in Mauritania, the worst African country in this respect, only 48% of the children are malnourished."
It is surprising how half this country's children are malnourished, while African children are shown to be better. Sure we have seen pictures of famine-ravaged children in Africa and baulk at the poverty. But travel into the interiors of this country and you will see millions of malnourished, skinny children, who, I am sure, don't get proper food and nourishment. The enemy may be the old enemy within our gates - illiteracy.
In the same post Dilip also mentions quite incisively that though the right to compulsory education till the age of 14 was promised at the time of Independence, it became a law only recently. What was lost in the interregnum may be never regained. But let's still hope.

By the way his travelogue Roadrunner has recently been published. You can buy a copy here.

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