Published: 20th December 2021
Almost 75 per cent of India's severely malnourished children live in UP and Bihar, says WCD Ministry
Uttar Pradesh has 3,55,314 severely malnourished children. This accounts to 39.5 per cent of the total number of malnourished children in the country
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar combined have almost 75 per cent of the country's severely malnourished children, according to the data shared by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The data was shared by Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani, while answering a question raised by MPs Manickam Tagore and M Badruddin Jalal.
Uttar Pradesh has 3,55,314 severely malnourished children. This accounts for 39.5 per cent of the total number of malnourished children in the country. There are 8,99,831 severely malnourished children in the country. Bihar houses 2,94,218 of them. This amounts to another 32.6 per cent. Madhya Pradesh is in the third position with 59,666 severely malnourished children. The data also says that Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Manipur and Nagaland do not have any severely malnourished children.
Despite these numbers, the minister says that all children were provided necessary meals during the pandemic. "To ensure continuous nutritional support to the beneficiaries, the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers distributed Supplementary Nutrition at the doorsteps of beneficiaries once in 15 days during COVID-19 as all Anganwadi Centres across the country were closed to limit the impact of the pandemic. In addition, they also assisted the local administration in community surveillance, creating awareness as well as other work assigned to them from time to time," said Irani.
She added, "As per the recent report of NFHS-5 (2019-21), the nutrition indicators for children under 5 years have improved as compared with NFHS-4 (2015-16). Stunting has reduced from 38.4 per cent to 35.5 per cent, while wasting has reduced from 21.0 per cent to 19.3 per cent and Underweight prevalence has reduced from 35.8 per cent to 32.1 per cent."
At the same time, while answering another question, Irani said that the government has not conducted any inquiry through the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) regarding deaths of children due to malnutrition in the country during the last two years.