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Developmental Issues

Ministry of Women and Child Development

Acute Malnutrition in India

Posted On: 28 NOV 2019 3:40PM by PIB Delhi

As per the report of Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) conducted by UNICEF during 2016-18, prevalence of severe acute malnutrition among children is 4.9%, which indicates further reduction when compared to the levels reported by NFHS-4 as 7.4%.

As per the report of NFHS-4 conducted in 2015-16, 38.4% children under 5 years of age are stunted indicating a reduction and information from the previous NFHS – 3 conducted in 2005-06, which reported 48% children under 5 years of age as stunted and hence there is an improvement from the previous status. As per the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) conducted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the rate of stunting among children has further reduced to 34.7%.

Malnutrition is a multi- faceted problem. The important determinants are inadequate food, level of poverty leading to low purchasing power, poor socio- economic status of women, female illiteracy, high rate of population growth and low access of population to health education, safe drinking water, environmental, sanitation, hygiene and other social services. Key reasons for malnutrition setting in early life are early marriage, faulty and sub-optimal infant and young child feeding practices, childhood illnesses and low birth weight. The nutritional status of the population is outcome of complex and inter-related set of factors and cannot be improved by the efforts of single sector alone. Therefore, it needs a multi-pronged approach.

The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through States/UTs to address various aspects related to nutrition. This Ministry is implementing POSHAN Abhiyaan, PradhanMantriMatruVandanaYojana, Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) as direct targeted interventions to address the problem of malnutrition in the country. Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition are treated at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Government has launched POSHAN Abhiyaan on 18.12.2017 for a three-year time frame commencing from 2017-18. The goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in a time bound manner during the three years with fixed targets as under:






Prevent and reduce Stunting in children

(0- 6 years)

By 6% @ 2% p.a.


Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0-6 years)

By 6% @ 2% p.a.


Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among young Children(6-59 months)

By 9% @ 3% p.a.


Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among Women and Adolescent Girls in the age group of 15-49 years.

By 9% @ 3% p.a.


Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW).

By 6% @ 2% p.a.


The Abhiyaan aims to reduce malnutrition in the country in a phased manner, through a life cycle approach, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach. The Abhiyaan has mechanisms for timely service delivery and a robust monitoring as well as intervention infrastructure. The major activities undertaken under this Abhiyaan are ensuring convergence with various other programmes; Information Technology enabled Common Application Software for strengthening service delivery and interventions; Community Mobilization and Awareness Advocacy leading to Jan Andolan- to educate the people on nutritional aspects; Capacity Building of Frontline Functionaries and incentivizing States/ UTs for achieving goals.

This information was given by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, in written replies in the Rajya Sabha today.



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