Hunger and Nutrition Issues – GHI, GNI, etc.

[op-ed snap] Odisha’s strides in nutrition


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Case study from Orissa


Odisha is one of the Empowered Action Group States or eight socio-economically backward states of India. It has done remarkably well in health and nutrition outcomes over the past two decades.


    • Its infant mortality rate has significantly declined. 
    • Its under-five mortality rate almost halved in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 from NFHS-3. 
    • It has seen a steep decline in stunting in children under five. 
    • Anaemia in children and pregnant women has also decreased since NFHS-3. 
    • Antenatal care and institutional deliveries have shown good improvement. 

Nutritional interventions

    • Nutrition has a strong correlation to health and is integral to growth and development. 
    • Timely nutritional interventions of breastfeeding, age-appropriate complementary feeding, Vitamin A supplementation, and full immunisation are effective in improving nutrition outcomes in children. 
    • A nutrition action plan based on convergence – with health, nutrition, and WASH programmes. 
    • Decentralising the procurement of supplementary nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Services programme. This has led to fair access to services under the ICDS by all beneficiaries.
    • A rise in utilisation of services under the ICDS as compared to a decade ago. 
    • Supplementary nutrition – There has been a marked improvement in supplementary nutrition received by pregnant and lactating women in NFHS-4 compared to NFHS-3.


    • Despite progress in child and maternal indicators, Odisha continues to be plagued by a high level of malnutrition. 
    • Stunting – There is stark variability across districts in stunting ranging from as high as 47.5% in Subarnapur to a low of 15.3% in Cuttack. 
    • Wasting is high in 25 out of the 30 districts. Almost half of the under-five children from tribal communities in Odisha are underweight, and 46% are stunted. 
    • The infant mortality rate among tribals is the fourth highest in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
    • Reduced supplementary food – food given under the ICDS programme has shown a significant increase. Less of such food is given as children grow older. 
    • Feeding – There is also a decline is children receiving timely complementary feeding. Less than 10% of children receive a minimum acceptable diet. This can be attributed to a lack of understanding and awareness about nutrition due to illiteracy.


    • Another challenge for Odisha is in reaching out to remote and particularly vulnerable tribal groups. 
    • This could be the reason why tribal women and children are lagging behind the national average on nutrition and health indicators. 

Way ahead

    • It is essential to improve the implementation of schemes and ensure last-mile delivery of nutrition services.
    • A part of the solution lies in setting up mini Anganwadi centres catering to far-flung tribal hamlets. 
    • Raising awareness through community campaigns on the need for good nutrition would help improve the utilisation of services by beneficiaries.
    • The International Food Policy Research Institute called for inter-department engagements to accelerate the nutrition outcome in Odisha. 
    • There is a need to improve sanitation, women’s education and underlying poverty to tackle undernutrition.
    • Underweight children should also be identified precisely so that the monitoring mechanism for improving service delivery can be strengthened. 
    • The National Nutrition Mission sets an example with its inter-ministerial convergence and real-time monitoring mechanism for tracking each beneficiary and tackling malnutrition.
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