According to the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) for 2019-21, a significant number of young Indian children are experiencing food insecurity, which raises concerns about their growth and the well-being of their future selves. In order to meet the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2) of eliminating hunger, India needs to eliminate food insecurity and provide nutritious food that is also affordable.

What are the Roots of Hunger?

Poverty: Food insecurity is a leading contributor to deaths related to hunger. Because of differences in economic development across regions and the cost of food, balanced nutrition is unaffordable.

Social factors: a person’s “nutritional quotient” can be affected by factors such as gender, caste, age, and other demographics.The nutritional requirements of young girls and the elderly are ignored in our society.

Ineffective Policy Implementation: Ineffective policy implementation is a factor that contributes to ongoing hunger.The ICDS and NHM both have a relatively low coverage.

• As a result of climate change, unpredictable rainfall and extreme events have made it more difficult to produce food on a global scale.

• A severe shortage of essential micronutrients is a problem in India. A poor diet, disease, or failing to meet the micronutrient needs of pregnant women and nursing mothers can cause this condition.


Current Measures: Issues surrounding it?

Constraints imposed by anthropometry:

These multifactoral measures do not specify the deficiencies, making it difficult for any single ministry or department to design, implement, and monitor policies to reduce child under nutrition.

Stunting and wasting are inadequate measures of nutritional deprivation in young Indian children.

 Stunting and wasting are inadequate measures of nutritional deprivation in young Indian children.

Deprivations within Food Groups 

The statistics for zero-food show that there are significant deficiencies within food groups.

• More than eighty percent of children did not consume any foods that were high in protein on a daily basis, and forty percent of children did not consume grains.

• Six in ten kids don’t drink milk or dairy daily.

Mission Poshan 2.0 does not, however, have any effective food-based metrics developed in order to monitor and evaluate the performance of the program.

IMPLICATIONS “Pros and Cons” 


 • Eighteen percent of mothers with children aged six to twenty-three months reported that their child had not eaten in the 24 hours prior to the survey. This is referred to as “zero-food” and raises serious concerns about severe food insecurity.

• Zero-food intake was present in 30% of children ages 6-11 months, 13% of children ages 12-17 months, and 8% of children ages 18-23 months.

Global Hunger Index 2022:

    • India ranked 107.

    • The current child wasting rate of 19.3% in India is significantly higher than the rates recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and 2000 (17.15%).

    • The percentage of people who were undernourished increased from 14.6% in 2018-2020 to 16.3% in 2019-2021.

 Initiatives – “Structural & Functional Initiatives Taken”

    • Eat Right India Movement is an outreach program run by the FSSAI to encourage people to eat healthily.

    • The POSHAN Abhiyan was initiated in 2018 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development with the goal of lowering the rates of stunting, anemia, and undernutrition among young children, women, and adolescent girls.

    •  The Midday Meal (MDM) scheme: The MDM scheme helps improve schoolchildren’s nutrition as well as their enrollment, retention, and attendance rates.

    • The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is a maternity benefit program that was rolled out across the country in January of 2017. It is sponsored by the central government and is managed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

    • Fortification of Foods: Vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D are added to rice, milk, and salt during the process of food fortification.

    •  In accordance with the National Food Security Act of 2013, the Targeted Public Distribution System made it possible for 75% of residents living in rural areas and 50% of residents living in urban areas to obtain subsidized food grains.

    •  Mission Indradhanush: This program vaccinates children under the age of two and women who are pregnant against a total of 12 VPDs {vaccine preventable diseases).

    • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which was established in 1975This program offers a total of six different services to children ages 0 to 6, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers.

INNOVATION “The Way Ahead” 

    • In India, there is a need for a national effort to establish routine dietary and nutritional assessments for the entire population. This is necessary because there is a lack of data regarding food and dietary consumption.

    • In order to put an end to hunger and improve nutritional security, policies that are based on evidence need to measure the availability, accessibility, and affordability of nutrient-dense food, particularly for vulnerable groups like young children.

    • YOUNG ones to begin with, in order for young children to develop normally, they require food that is both inexpensive and nutritious. The intake of food by young children should be given priority by the government over “complementary” policies regarding the nutrition of mothers, infants, and young children.

    • Initiative Required: In order to put an end to food insecurity and guarantee affordable access, with a particular emphasis on young children, India needs a strategy that is led by the PMO.

    • Strong Monitoring: The zero-food metric should be used to evaluate how well Mission Poshan 2.0 is doing.

    • Metrics regarding food security need to be developed so that programs and interventions can be evaluated.

    • The National Food Consumption Survey (NFHS) should inquire about the past 24 hours of food consumption from both children under the age of five and adults.

    • International Standards: Food insecurity in Indian households can be measured using modules developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization specifically for use in households.

    • A nationwide program of routine dietary and nutritional assessments is required in order to gain an understanding of the consumption of food and dietary patterns across the country.

    • There is a need to raise awareness about malnutrition across all of India.