Malnutrition in India - Facts & Schemes Launched by Government of India

Malnutrition also called malnourishment is a condition resulting from eating a diet that contains either insufficient or too much of nutrients as a result of which health problems ensue. The nutrients involved are calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins or minerals. Undernutrition during pregnancy, or before two years of age may cause permanent mental and physical development problems.

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Malnutrition – Types

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.

Malnutrition covers 2 different categories of conditions that are given below

  1. Undernutrition – This category covers stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies (lack of important minerals)
  2. Others – This category consists of overweight, obesity, diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer)

The World Health Organisation releases the Global Nutrition Report every year with an assessment of the state of global nutrition. Aspirants willing to know more about the same can visit the linked article. 

Malnutrition – Negative Impacts

  1. Affects the productivity of the population
  2. Affects the country’s mortality rates
  3. Affects the survival rate of children
  4. Affects the learning capability of children, making them unproductive in their later life.

Malnutrition – Causes

Many families cannot afford or have access to

  1. Fresh fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Legumes
  4. Meat
  5. Milk

The reason behind the rapid rise in obesity in adults and children is the cheaply available foods and drinks high in fat, sugar, and salt. Overweight problem is prevalent in poor as well as rich countries.

Malnutrition in India – 8 Important Facts

  1. As per the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), 14.5% of India’s population is undernourished.
  2. In the Global Hunger Index 2019 report, India is ranked abysmally low at 102nd position out of 117 countries.
  3. As per the report given by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the major contributing factor behind the death of children below 5 years of age in India, was malnutrition in children.
  4. As per UNICEF report, 38% of children younger than 5 years of age in India are stunted.
  5. Approximately 40% of children from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Classes are stunted.
  6. As per UNICEF report, India is at 10th spot among countries with the highest number of underweight children.
  7. As per UNICEF report, India is at 17th spot for the highest number of stunted children in India.
  8. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh has the highest percentages of underweight childbirths in India.

Malnutrition in India – Schemes Launched by Government of India

The Government of India had launched multiple schemes to address the problems of the high rate of malnutrition in India.

Below tables give details on the Government of India schemes to address malnutrition

Schemes Details of the scheme
Integrated Child Development Scheme
  1. Launched in 1975
  2. The target group of this scheme is women and children below 6 years of age.
  3. This scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  4. This program entails providing nutrition, medical health check-up, immunization.
National Nutrition Policy
  1. It was launched in 1993.
  2. It was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development
Mid Day Meal Scheme
  1. Launched in 1995
  2. The target group of this scheme is children aged between 6 years to 14 years.
National Nutrition Policy
  1. It was launched in 1993
  2. The objective of this mission was to achieve optimum nutrition for all.
National Health Mission
  1. This mission was launched in the year 2013.
  2. This mission absorbed 2 other missions – National Rural Health Mission and National Urban Health Mission
  3. This mission is implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna
  1. The scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development
  2. This mission focuses on providing cash incentives to pregnant and lactating mothers
National Nutrition Mission
  1. This Mission is also called POSHAN Abhiyaan
  2. The objective of this mission is to make India free of malnutrition by 2022.
  3. The target groups of this mission are pregnant and lactating mothers, children and adolescents
  4. Aim to reduce undernutrition by 2%, low birth weight by 2% and anaemia by 3%.
  5. By 2022, the objective is to reduce the proportion of stunted children in the population to 25%

Which date is observed as World Food Day?

October 16 is observed as World Food Day.

Malnutrition – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2022.

Relevant Links

Food Security of India – Food Subsidy Delivery, Challenges Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India – Complete List
Zero Hunger Program National Nutrition Strategy – A Brief Overview
Nutrition Based Subsidy Scheme Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana
Critical Assessment of Poverty Alleviation Programmes of India Difference between Absolute Poverty and Relative Poverty
Economic Empowerment of Weaker Sections Yojana Magazine – Social Empowerment
Causes of Poverty – A Multidimensional Challenge Global Hunger Index 


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