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In India, as of 2017, 68% of all deaths of children under five, or 1,953 per day could be attributed to malnutrition. Malnutrition also increases healthcare costs, reduces productivity, and slows economic growth, which can perpetuate a cycle of poverty and ill-health.

IndiaSpend Story: Underweight Prevalence Falls, But India Grapples With Obesity, Micronutrient Deficiency

"The latest health data show only a small reduction in malnourishment across the country. There were a larger proportion of children who were short for their age (known as stunting) in 13 states and UTs. Stunting is linked with poor cognitive development and future opportunities. The proportion of wasted children (low weight for height) increased in nine states. Wasting reflects short-term disease and mortality, as per WHO.

IndiaSpend Story

Poshan Abhiyaan focuses on:

Convergence: Combining nutrition schemes to achieve targets.
Use of technology (ICT) for real-time growth monitoring (RTM) and tracking of women and children: Real-time growth monitoring via mobile apps.
Training: Incremental Learning Approach for capacity building.
Behavior change: Mobilising communities through events, education, and advocacy.
Innovation: Funding pilot projects for improved nutrition services.

"Administrative data available from the ICDS Management Information System, however, paint a different picture; the number of eligible people availing SNP services decreased. Between March 2016 and March 2021, beneficiaries receiving SNP fell by 19% from 102 million to 83.2 million. For children, it fell from 82.9 million to 67.5 million. In contrast, from 2016 to 2021, the number of children aged six months to six years was estimated to increase by 7.6%. During the same period, the number of children, three to six years, receiving pre-school education (PSE) declined by 34% from 35 million to 23 million.

Accountability India Analysis: IndiaSpend Story

IndiaSpend story on Anganwadi Workers & Helpers strike in Delhi in 2022: Why Delhi's Anganwadi Workers Are Fighting For Higher Pay, Social Security

They demanded retirement benefits, medical insurance, and NGO involvement in ICDS, among other things.

Over 200,000 Anganwadi workers in Maharashtra went on a 54-day strike in February 2024. The strike was for fair wages and basic rights such as pension and gratuity.

Accountability India Analysis: India UnderSpends On Nutrition, New Nutrition Programme Yet To Be Implemented

The last time the government changed SNP costs was in September 2017 when the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a rate of Rs 8 per day for child beneficiaries.

Between October 2017 and October 2021, India had 20% food and beverage inflation. Accounting for this, the per day costs as of October 2021 would be Rs 9.58 instead of Rs 8 for children; Rs 11.37 instead of Rs 9.50 for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and adolescent girls; and Rs 14.36 instead of Rs 12 for severely malnourished children.

Since the inception of the scheme in 2017, Rs 5,403 crore has been released by the Union government, accounting for 53% of the total allocations (Rs 10,111 crore till 2020-21). Till March 31, 2023, Rs 3,573 crore or 66% of total central funds released had been spent.