Lifting the curse: Overcoming persistent undernutrition in India
India contains a third of the developing world's undernourished children. While in most countries growth is linked to reduced malnutrition, India has failed to reduce malnutrition. IDS Bulletin Volume 40, Number 4, proposes ways in which the state and civil society in India can strengthen the governance of nutrition. Firstly, the bulletin provides a literature review, which reveals that it is a mix of incentives resulting in a mismatch of services and needs that exclude large groups of individuals from access to quality nutrition services.
The bulletin then moves on to examine existing interventions, focusing largely on the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). This nationwide early childhood programme could be improved to accelerate undernutrition reduction. In this area the authors indicate some signs of optimism. The bulletin's articles also highlight the constraints to making progress in reducing undernutrition. Additional resources must be accompanied by a complementary effort to strengthen governance, at all levels.
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IDS - July 2009