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Ashok Kotwal
GST Explainer: Introduction
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Seventeen years after its framework was formed, India’s biggest tax reform – the goods and ... read on »
Introducing a new feature: ‘Explainers’
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Our day-to-day lives are tossed around due to economic changes, resulting sometimes from g ... read on »
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »

Tag: malnutrition

Improving nutritional outcomes through conditional cash transfers
Alok Kumar , Sneha Palit
Posted on: 22 Nov 2017
Topics:   Health


The Indian government plans to universalise the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – a conditional cash transfer programme for pregnant women and lactating mothers that aims to improve maternal and child health. In this context, this column presents findings from a pilot undertaken in Bihar to test the efficacy of conditional cash transfers to improve nutritional outcomes.
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Malnutrition and the National Food Security Act
Anders Kjelsrud , Rohini Somanathan
Posted on: 31 Oct 2017
Topics:   Health


The National Food Security Act aims to remove hunger and reduce malnutrition by providing subsidised foodgrains to two-thirds of the population. Using nationally representative data, this column finds that the Act is unlikely to greatly affect food consumption and malnutrition. However, a fully implemented Act can still benefit the poor through the income transfers implicit in food subsidies.
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Women empowerment in nutrition: Role of common pool resources
Nirali Bakhla
Posted on: 15 Sep 2017

Absence of effective public service delivery and well-functioning markets makes the rural poor highly dependent on common pool resources such as forests and water resources for their livelihoods. In this note, Nirali Bakhla discusses the importance of these resources for poor women in particular.

This is the fifth post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Role of seasonality in food security
Ankita Mondal
Posted on: 14 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


In this note, Ankita Mondal provides an account of the impact of seasonality on nutrition and livelihoods of the rural poor, especially women.

This is the fourth post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Do women really have a say in preparing and providing food?
Sweta Bhusan
Posted on: 13 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


Decision-making capacity of women within the household and in the community is considered to be a reflection of their empowerment. In this note, Sweta Bhusan discusses one dimension of decision-making that revolves around procuring, preparing and serving food to household members.

This is the second post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Ideas of empowerment
Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 13 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


As part of the ‘Women’s Empowerment in Nutrition Index’ project, a group of researchers spoke with rural women and community workers from Araria in Bihar, and Ganjam, Rayagada, Kandhmal, and Nayagarh in Odisha, on a range of issues around women’s empowerment, agriculture, and nutrition. In this note, Sudha Narayanan discusses how women in resource-constrained rural settings perceive the idea of empowerment, and the gap between their perception and the wider conceptualisation of empowerment.

This is the first post of a five-part series.

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Midday meals scheme: Are corruption claims exaggerated?
Monika Yadav
Posted on: 31 Jul 2017

Soon after Aadhaar was made compulsory for availing midday meals in schools, the government claimed that the move had helped expose several instances of schools siphoning off funds under the scheme by reporting inflated student enrolment. Comparing official data with that from the Indian Human Development Survey, this column shows that corruption in the scheme is less than what is being alleged - and not of the nature that Aadhaar can check.
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Health policy and economic growth in India
Nalini Gulati , Nidhiya Menon
Posted on: 27 Jul 2017

A new synthesis paper (Menon 2017) produced by the International Growth Centre brings together evidence from various health-related IGC studies on India undertaken over the past seven years, to draw implications for health policy. At a workshop organised by IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Srinath Reddy (Public Health Foundation of India), Alok Kumar (NITI Aayog), and Karthik Muralidharan (University of California, San Diego) discussed key policy lessons emerging from research, and areas where further work is required.
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Leaving stunting behind: Evidence from ethnic Indians in England
Caterina Alacevich , Alessandro Tarozzi
Posted on: 27 Apr 2017
Topics:   Health


Despite impressive rates of economic growth in recent decades, India remains one of the worst-performing countries worldwide in terms of height, among children and adults. This column shows that height gaps exist, although decline substantially, among adult immigrants of Indian ethnicity in England, while virtually disappearing among their young children.
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Early life nutrition and future educational outcomes: Findings from ICDS
Ramanan Laxminarayan , Arindam Nandi
Posted on: 25 Apr 2016
Topics:   Education , Health


Integrated Child Development Services – India’s flagship child nutrition programme – has recently suffered a major cut in funding. This column shows that supplementary nutrition provided under the programme positively influences long-term educational outcomes of children. The findings suggest that funding for the programme should be fully restored and efforts should be made to address its systemic inefficiencies.
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Has the ICDS helped reduce stunting in India?
Monica Jain
Posted on: 09 Oct 2015
Topics:   Health


While stunting has declined sharply in India, the levels remain disturbingly high at 38.7%. This column evaluates the impact of the supplementary feeding component of ICDS – India’s flagship programme for early child development - and finds sizable positive effects on heights of 0-2 year olds. However, these gains are achievable only if the programme is focused on this age group and if food is delivered regularly.
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Religion and health in early childhood: Evidence from South Asia
Elizabeth Brainerd , Nidhiya Menon
Posted on: 03 Jul 2015
Topics:   Health


The widespread malnutrition of children in South Asia is persistent and troubling. Given the importance of religion in the region, this column examines the relationship between inequalities in child health and religious identity across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It finds a consistent trend of Muslim advantage in infancy, vis-à-vis Hindus, and its reversal after 12 months of age across the three countries.
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Women’s empowerment and child malnutrition in rural India
Samuel Annim , Raghav Gaiha , Katsushi Imai , Veena S. Kulkarni
Posted on: 19 Jun 2015
Topics:   Gender , Health


Research has found mother’s empowerment to have a positive impact on the nutrition status of their children. This column analyses this relationship for data from rural India for the period 1992-2006. Among other factors, it highlights the importance of mother’s education in relation to father’s education in determining children’s nutrition.
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A campaign to end malnutrition in Bihar
Hena Naqvi
Posted on: 08 May 2015
Topics:   Health


About 55% of 0-3 year old children in the state of Bihar are malnourished. In this article, Hena Naqvi, State Programme Officer at the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Bihar, describes an ambitious campaign launched by the government in October 2014 to reduce child malnutrition in the state to 30% by 2017.
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Droughts and child health
Santosh Kumar , Ramona Molitor , Sebastian Vollmer
Posted on: 27 Jan 2015
Topics:   Health


Research has pointed towards the importance of foetal health in child development. Assessing the impact of rainfall variability on child health, this column finds that exposure to drought in the womb increases the child’s likelihood of being underweight. It suggests that policies aimed at reducing child malnutrition need to start at the beginning of human life, that is, in the womb.
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The youngest are hungriest
Seema Jayachandran , Rohini Pande
Posted on: 17 Sep 2014
Topics:   Health , Gender


Babies born in India are more likely to be stunted than those in sub-Saharan Africa, even though the former are better off on average. This column examines how the India-Africa height gap varies by birth order within the family and finds that it begins with the second-born and becomes more pronounced with each subsequent baby. Favouritism toward firstborn sons in India explains this trend.
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Putting undernutrition higher on the political agenda in India
Lawrence Haddad
Posted on: 02 Jul 2014
Topics:   Health


In his previous article, Lawrence Haddad contented that globally, we are in the midst of a ‘perfect storm’ for ending undernutrition, and maximum effort is required to take advantage of this transformative opportunity. In this part, he discusses how the new government generates a new opportunity to put undernutrition prevention higher on the political agenda in India.
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Ending undernutrition: In clear sight?
Lawrence Haddad
Posted on: 30 Jun 2014
Topics:   Health


The World Health Assembly is targeting a decline of 100 million in the number of stunted under-five children by 2025; a 10% decline in stunting rates in India by 2014 can close a fifth of the gap. This article contents that we are in the midst of a ‘perfect storm’ for ending undernutrition, and maximum effort is required to take advantage of this transformative opportunity.
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What explains declining calorie consumption in India?
Amit Basole , Deepankar Basu
Posted on: 16 Jun 2014
Topics:   Health


It is puzzling to note that while real household expenditures and incomes in rural India have been on the rise, average calorie intake has declined. Analysing data from the National Sample Survey, this column finds that this is an outcome of a food-budget squeeze; rapidly rising expenses on non-food essentials such as cooking fuel are absorbing all the increases in real total expenditures
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Giving up too early on malnourished children? Catch-up growth and Midday Meals
Abhijeet Singh
Posted on: 14 Apr 2014
Topics:   Health


It is widely believed that malnourishment in the first few years of childhood adversely affects cognition and adult economic outcomes. This column presents new research which shows that full recovery from early malnourishment is possible. Based on data from the state of Andhra Pradesh, it is found that the Midday Meals programme of the Government of India has been successful in compensating for early nutritional deprivation.
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Some reflections on the National Food Security Act
Ashok Kotwal , Milind Murugkar , Bharat Ramaswami
Posted on: 10 Dec 2013

The Food Security Bill became an Act with little parliamentary opposition. Yet the public debate has lingered. Would subsidised food grains reduce malnutrition? Won’t it be better to invest in health and education instead? Can we afford the cost of subsidising food for such a large chunk of the population? Should we continue to waste money on the flawed PDS system? How will the grain markets be affected? This column offers a perspective on these important questions.
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On tackling child malnutrition
Prakarsh Singh
Posted on: 30 Aug 2013
Topics:   Health


Is it the lack of information on nutrition given to mothers, or the lack of child care worker motivation that makes child malnutrition persist? This column cites results from a study undertaken in the slums of Chandigarh in North India to investigate this question. The findings suggest that that offering performance pay to child care workers is likely to be ineffective unless mothers have nutritional information available to them.
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Bihar’s malnutrition crisis and potential solutions
Ronald Abraham , Andrew Fraker
Posted on: 24 May 2013
Topics:   Corruption , Health


The prevalence of underweight children in Bihar is higher than in any country in the world, and the provision of public services to address malnutrition is poor. Based on an assessment of the government’s nutritional support to mothers and children, this column sheds light on the grim public service delivery, likely causes, and ideas to address the problem.
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Child stunting and open defecation: How much of the South Asian height “enigma” is a toilet gap?
Dean Spears
Posted on: 18 Feb 2013
Topics:   Health


Children in India are shorter on average than children in Sub-Saharan Africa, even though Indians are richer on average. What explains this paradox? This column suggests open defecation as a possible explanation, and recommends that policymakers in India should work towards achieving widespread latrine use.
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Child malnutrition in India and what can be done about it
Pushkar Maitra , Anu Rammohan
Posted on: 15 Oct 2012

While many things are getting better in India, the disturbing levels of child malnutrition are hardly changing. This column explores why and asks what can be done. It calls for more conditional cash transfers to poor rural families and better education on how to feed their children.
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Child malnutrition: Why wealth isn’t the only problem
Nisha Malhotra
Posted on: 08 Oct 2012
Topics:   Education , Health


Why does child malnutrition persist in India? This column argues that the reason is not limited to poverty or inadequate access to food; but that a lack of knowledge about healthy nutrition plays a vital role.
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Multi-dimensional deprivation in India: Comparisons with China and Vietnam
Ranjan Ray
Posted on: 03 Aug 2012
Topics:   Health


While several studies have compared India with China on economic measures such as GDP per capita, this column looks at a measure of people’s deprivation across a wide range of indicators. It finds India lagging behind in several dimensions, particularly on children’s health.
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A national shame: Hunger and malnutrition in India
Anil Deolalikar
Posted on: 23 Jul 2012

One area where India’s development falls desperately short is nutrition. Child malnutrition rates are higher in India than in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This column argues that there can be no excuses. Policymakers need to better understand the reasons behind this ‘national shame’ and need to start doing something about it.
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