Forgotten in India success story | india | Hindustan Times
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Forgotten in India success story

The plight of the children in India has been described by the Times in a report headlined, The forgotten victims of India's drive for success.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 02:35 IST
Vijay Dutt

The suffering of the undernourished children in Africa has been in the spotlight with crisis summits and celebrity endorsements but the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) has reported that half of the world's 146 million (27 per cent of total number of children) under-nourished children live in just three countries, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. It is a sad commentary on India.

The plight of the children in India has been described by the Times in a report headlined, The forgotten victims of India's drive for success. About 47 per cent of children under five years of age in India are underweight whereas China has reduced the number of underweight children by an average of 6.7% per year since 1990.

The contrast between the two countries is striking: In China the prevalence of underweight children almost halved between 1990 and 2002, from 19 to eight per cent, while in India the annual rate of reduction since 1990 is less than two per cent.

Unicef has called for range of measures including providing of vitamin A capsules, and fortifying foods with iron and iodine. It also asked that child nutrition be made a central component of national policies and budgets, providing better information on nutrition and better resources for families.

Ann Veneman, executive director of Unicef, has been quoted, "The lack of progress to combat malnutrition is damaging children and nations. Few things have more impact than nutrition on a child's ability to survive, learn effectively and escape a life of poverty."