IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 28th Nov 2020

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” – Booker T. Washington

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #266 :“Malnutrition in India : GHI 2020 | UPSC

Malnutrition in India : GHI 2020 | UPSC Malnutrition in India : GHI 2020 | UPSC

Amartya Paul | Upasak Das
Malnutrition in India : GHI 2020 | UPSC

Amartya Paul is Doctoral Scholar, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Upasak Das is Presidential Fellow in Economics of Poverty Reduction, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester


Stepping out of the shadow of India’s malnutrition


An immediate universalisation of the PDS, distribution of quality food items and community kitchens are a few solutions

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Malnutrition


There are anecdotal evidences of malnutrition that can have grave consequences for school children . Examine the viability of food distribution in COVID-19 period. -(GS 1)


  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Reports and Analysis on Malnutrition
  • Determinants of Malnutrition in India
  • Way Forward


If this is found to be the general trend across India, such anecdotal evidence can have larger consequences that can very well lead to different manifestations of malnutrition.

  • FALLING PROTEIN LEVEL : There have been numerous instances during the prayer session in schools where we often observe students feeling sick and falling down out of dizziness.
  • STOMACH ACHE AND MID-DAY MEAL : Most of the times they do not want to take mid-day meals and when asked, they complain of stomach ache.
  • STUNTED GROWTH : A school teacher had highlighted how girl students, who took admission in Standard five were relatively shorter in height than the previous year’s batch of students.


  • MICRO-NUTRIENT SHEET : A mid-day meal in India should provide 450 Kcal of energy, a minimum of 12 grams of proteins, including adequate quantities of micronutrients like iron, folic acid, Vitamin-A, etc.,
  • DIETARY CONSUMPTION : This above diet is one-third of the nutritional requirement of the child, from classes I to VIII in government and government-aided schools being eligible.
  • HUNGRY STOMACH AND HEAVY BAGS : Many children reach school on an empty stomach, making the school’s mid-day meal a major source of nutrition for children, particularly those from vulnerable communities.

Malnutrition in India : GHI 2020 | UPSC




  • WIDE PICTURE OF FOOD SECURITY : The annual report on “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020” by the Food and Agricultural Organization document staggering facts on food security in India.
  • MEASURING HUNGER : The 2020 Hunger report, “Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow” by the Bread for the World Institute  document staggering facts about malnutrition.
  • PREVALENCE OF UNDERNOURISHMENT(PoU) : These two reports indicate India to be one of the most food-insecure countries, with the highest rates of stunting and wasting among other South Asian countries.

The PoU measures the percentage of people who are consuming insufficient calories than their required minimum dietary energy requirement.

  • SERIOUS CATEGORY IN GHI : The recent Global Hunger Index (GHI) report for 2020 ranks India at 94 out of 107 countries and in the category ‘serious’, behind our neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
  •  DECINE IN PoU: In terms of percentages, the PoU has declined 24.7% between 2001 and 2018 for India; other data are China (76.4%), Nepal (74%), Pakistan (42%), Afghanistan (37.4%) and Bangladesh (18.9%).

The index is a combination of indicators of undernutrition in the population and wasting, stunting, and mortality in children below five years of age.

  • ‘ZERO HUNGER’ GOAL : We are already far out in terms of achieving the ‘Zero Hunger’ goal, and in the absence of urgent measures to address the problem, the situation will only worsen.
  • UNICEF CAUTIONS : Unless school services and social security are universally strengthened, there is a risk that some children may not even return to schools when they reopen.

Malnutrition in India


  • Food insecurity
  • Inadequate childcare practices
  • Low maternal education
  • Poor access to health services
  • Lack of access to clean water and sanitation
  • Poor hygiene practices.


This was 60 thousand tonnes, or 22%, lower than the corresponding off-take during April and May, 2019 (281.932 thousand tonnes).

  • OUTSOURCING GRAINS : There were 23 States and Union Territories that reported a decline in the grain off-take from FCI in April-May 2020, compared with corresponding months in 2019.
  • DATA MISMATCH : Data and media reports indicate that dry ration distributions in lieu of school meals are irregular.
  • AGGRAVATING CHILD LABOUR : The other worrying angle is the fact that there are reports of children engaging in labour to supplement the fall in family incomes in vulnerable households.
  • SERVING A HOT MEAL : Even States like Tamil Nadu, with a relatively good infrastructure for the MDMS, are unable to serve the mandated ‘hot cooked meal’ during the lockdown.

      IASbhai Windup: 


National Food Security Act – 2013 ensures every citizen “access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices”.

  • MISSED ELEMENTS : Two crucial elements that still got left out are the non-inclusion of nutritious food items such as pulses and exclusion of potential beneficiaries.
  • POVERTY BRINGS MALNUTRITION HOME : There is little to disagree that the current COVID-19 pandemic would make the situation worse in general, more so for vulnerable groups.
  • DISTRIBUTION OF QUALITY FOOD : A major shift in policy has to encompass the immediate universalisation of the Public Distribution System which should definitely not be temporary in nature.
  • DISSEMINATION OF KNOWLEDGE : Knowledge regarding foods avail essential nutrients for proper growth and development is important .
  • A RECIPE COMPETITION : Nutritious recipes must be given to the mothers & encourage them to indulge their children in good eating habits etc
  • ADDRESSING THE CRUX : Reducing under-nutrition requires effective implementation of both nutrition-specific and complementary nutrition-sensitive interventions.

The need of the hour remains the right utilisation and expansion of existing programmes to ensure that we arrest at least some part of this burgeoning malnutrition in the country.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Malnutrition in India : GHI 2020 | UPSC



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