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Mizzima: 'Half of world's hungry in

'Half of world's hungry in India'

By Priyanka Tikoo
>From The Asian Age (New Delhi)

New Delhi, Feb. 13: Despite a substantial increase in foodgrain
production during the 50 years of independence, half the world's hungry
people are in Indian which is still classified by the Food and
Agriculture Organisation as a "low-income and food-deficit country," an
international report says.

"Around 35 per cent of India's population is considered food insecure,
consuming less than 80 per cent of the minimum food requirements," World
Food Pregramme says in its country Programme Report 1997-2002 on food
aid intervention in India.

"Of a larger concern is the status of women. The food intake of
considerable section of Indian women is not only calorie deficient but a
staggering 83 per cent of the country's women suffer from iron
deficiency and anaemia during pregnancy," the report says.

"Maternal Mortality Rate among the Indian women is one of the highest in
the world," it says.

WFP, which is supporting the Centre's initiative for child development:
"Though the scheme has contributed a great deal towards a commendable
improvement in the health indices of the country, we are far from being
a healthy nation." The ICDS, formulated by the government as a
comprehensive child survival and development scheme drawing on the
resources of the Centre, states, voluntary organisations and the
communities, was launched in 1975.

The ambitious plan, aiming to bring about improvement in the health and
nutritional status of children below six years, also has objectives
which include reduction in morality, morbidity, and malnutrition,
reduction in school dropout rates and enhancement of mother's capability
to look after the health and nutritional needs of their children, it
says. Presently, about 33 per cent of infants are born having low birth
weight which is critical for the survival of the baby, WFP, which
recommends an intensive campaign on initiating early complementary
feeding. It says.

It also recommends the need to increase participation of children under
three years of age in ICDS, community participation through women's
organisations at grassroots levels, adequate staffing. Training and
regular orientation for different levels of staff in the health care
delivery system.(PTI)