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Mid-day Meal Scheme fights Food Inflation & Urban Malnutrition in India

"Between 1999 and 2005, urban malnutrition in adults as well as children remained high in India, with very little change. At present, over 70% of people in urban areas consume fewer calories than the National Sample Survey Organization’s calorie norm, compared to 61% in rural areas."

"...numbers of the poor in urban areas will continue to increase over the next decade. In 2030, an estimated 91 million people will be poor in urban areas."

"Food Price Inflation: In urban areas, meat, milk and vegetables cost considerably more than in rural areas, where most foodstuffs are grown or herded, thus making it prohibitively expensive for most poor families. Moreover, for the urban migrant workers, the lack of a permanent address renders them unable to have a ‘ration card’, making it impossible to buy subsidized items like rice, wheat and sugar that would otherwise be made available to them by the government. In the future, this problem will persist as rural workers migrate to urban areas, where they have no official documentation, nor the means to procure them and no permanent housing."

Implications:

"The Indian government has undertaken several measures such as the Antodaya Anna Yojna, and the Mid-day Meal Scheme to bolster nutrition levels through out the country. Added to this, the government plans to introduce a National Food Security Bill soon, which will provide essential food items at an extremely low cost. Moreover, the Indian government has realized the extent of urban poverty and has taken a number of steps to combat it, as well as plan for the future. Among them are plans for expanded free healthcare, education and housing. If free housing and healthcare are provided, then that will free up a substantial amount of household income for that can then be invested in items such as vegetables and milk that are not covered by acts such as the Food Security Bill. However, as these plans are long term, it is likely that in the interim, malnutrition in urban India will continue to be pervasive."

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Sources:

Strategic Foresight Group, Asian Horizons, Issue No: 6, August 2010. Page 2.

http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_Aug2010.pdf#page=2

• Mirza, Maheen. ‘Urban Poverty and Malnutrition Increase in MP’. InfoChange India. March
2010. <http://infochangeindia.org/Agriculture/Urban-poverty-and-the-food-crisis/Urban-poverty-
and-malnutrition-increase-in-MP .html> • ‘National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) 2005–06: India Volume I’. International Institute for
Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International. September 2007.
<http://www.nfhsindia.org/NFHS-3%20Data/VOL-1/India_volume_I_corrected_17oct08.pdf> • ‘National Family Health Survey (NFHS-2), 1998–99: India’. International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ORC Macro. October 2000.
<http://www.nfhsindia.org/pnfhs2.html> • ‘Antyodaya Anna Yojana’. Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.
<http://fcamin.nic.in/dfpd_html/aay.htm> • Vashishtha, MV Vipin. ‘Rising Urbanization of Poverty-A Blot on the Shining Armor: India
Urban Poverty Report 2009’. Indian Pediatrics. 17 October 2009.
<http://medind.nic.in/ibv/t09/i10/ibvt09i10p875.pdf> • ‘India: Urban Poverty Report 2009: Factsheet’. United Nations Development Programme.
<http://data.undp.org.in/poverty_reduction/Factsheet_IUPR_09a.pdf>