New Delhi [India], Jan 21 (ANI): Nearly four percent of India’s GDP is estimated to have been lost due to malnutrition, an ASSOCHAM-EY joint paper noted. Also Read - Section 144 Imposed Around India Gate, No Gathering Permissible: Delhi Police

In lieu of this, the paper suggested that expenditure towards the welfare of women and children need to be higher, since the country hosts 50 percent of under-nourished children of the world, and women and girl children fall last in the household food serving. Also Read - Smart City Index 2020: Indian Cities Drop in Global Smart City Index; Singapore On Top

Quoting data from the National Family Health Survey-4, the ASSOCHAM-EY paper noted that close to 60 percent of our children aged between 6 – 59 months are anemic. It is only about 10 percent of the country’s total children who are receiving adequate diet. Also Read - Monsoon Session Day 2: Lok Sabha Passes Essential Commodities Bill to Raise Farmer Income, Boost Agri Sector | Highlights

Furthermore, about 55 percent of non-pregnant women and 58 percent of pregnant women aged between aged 15-49 years are anemic.

“A large part of India continues to consume non-nutritious, non-balanced food either in the form of under-nutrition, over-nutrition or micronutrient deficiencies. It is important to understand that mal-nutrition derives not just from lack of food but from a diverse set of inter-linked processes linking health care, education, sanitation, hygiene, access to resources and women empowerment”, the paper said.

ASSOCHAM Secretary General D S Rawat said the government needs to pursue policies which “focus on removing health and social inequities. Programmes and policies that aim to address the nutrition burden present a double – win situation”.

The adverse, irreversible and inter-generational impacts of malnutrition make optimal nutrition critical to the development of the country as a whole and all its citizens.

The paper said in order to cater to the large unmet needs of micro-nutrients, it is imperative to focus on production diversity as well as food fortification at a macro level.

For instance, millets are three to five times more nutritious than rice and wheat in terms of proteins, minerals, and vitamins. They are cost effective crops as well; yet considered as poor people’s crop while rice and wheat are preferred over them. Millets are rich in Vitamin B, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and are gluten-free. They are suitable for people with gluten allergies or those with high blood sugar levels.

(ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.