ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Food Dole or Health, Nutrition and Development Programme?

Child malnutrition is intimately related to inappropriate infant and young child feeding practices, and its beginnings set in during the first two years of an infant's life. The ICDS programme should be used to spread the message of correct feeding practices for infants. It was never envisaged as a food dole programme that it has now become.

Child Malnutrition

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme was expected to prevent the incidence of severe malnutrition of the kind that has been reported in some parts of the country. However, after 30 years of operation, the ICDS is yet to have an impact on the poor nutritional status of children. The ICDS has to be converted into a true health, nutrition and development programme, and not limited to a food dole programme.

TBAs Not Irrelevant

model by making government draw a part the surplus2 of the M sector (the profit income) in the form of import tariff revenue. This facilitates government investment and capital formation and consequent growth. But if one observes the experience during the last 45 years of protectionist policies, it appears that a major part of surplus for government investment appears to have come mostly from the unorganised manufacturing and agricultural sectors which employ a major section of the poor, instead of the protected sector Major part of government expenditure is drawn from its revenue through highly regressive indirect taxes and deficit financing. Government investment through deficit financing, if it causes inflation, makes the poor take the major part of the burden. Therefore, the burden of government expenditure might have been borne mostly by the poor but not by the organised manufacturing sector. The overvalued exchange rate suppressed agricultural prices and also other exportable goods' prices which implies that these sectors subsidised the urban consumption. In other words, agricultural sector and government expenditure made feasible by indirect taxes and deficit financing might have kept subsidising the organised manufacturing sector.

Causes of Infant Deaths

Given our headlong rush towards import liberalisation, the following paragraph has its own relevance, and for another reason too:
In our river valley and other schemes... we have to obtain from abroad much skilled machinery. This is inevitable and yet l feel that many types of machines can be made in India if we gave thought and energy to this matter. We follow the sheer path of paying dollars and getting them from abroad. We forget that our resources are limited; we forget also how Japan industrialised herself without importing much in the way of big machines. Right from the commencement Japan tried to build her own machine and later succeeded remarkably. Another factor has to be borne in mind. When we have to buy expensive machinery from abroad .or to give contracts, we have to be particularly careful that we get the most for our money and that no opportunity is given for individuals to make private profits out of this big transactions. I say this because instances have come to my notice when such private profit has been alleged. We have, INFANT MORTALITY rate is an excellent indicator of the socio-economic development of a country. This volume of original papers comes at an opportune time and provides a comprehensive review of this vital index for India.' It is commonly believed that the infant mortality rate in India has begun to decline again since 1978 after remaining stable for a decade. The editors argue against this and postulate that infant mortality has, in fact, been declining steadily since 1947, but the pace has been slower prior to 1978. The estimate of census actuaries understand the true level of infant mortality during the 1920s and also the 1940s. The authors point out that SRS crude death rates for 1965-67 were significantly above those estimated by the NSS for 1958-59 for nine of the thirteen states for which both sources provided information. The conclusion drawn is that death rates based on the NSS are underestimated. According to the authors, after an initial rather rapid decline up to 1961, IMR is presumed to have fallen at a slower rate. The pace of decline has accelerated after 1975 because of improved ternal and child health programmes, the mansion of health services and a significant increase in the number of health functionaries. However, they hasten to add that this increase has just about kept pace with the growth of population. Besides, lack of resources, transport and communications limit access to medical care. To this may be added a lack of empathy, inadequate supplies, unsuitable timings, etc Perhaps a combined effect of more therefore, to take particular care in checking this abuse (Volume II, pp 211-12).

Nutrition Programmes in South East Asia

Nutrition-Problems and Programmes in South East Asia by C Gopalan; SEARO Regional Health Papers No 15.
THIS publication reviewing the problems and programmes concerning nutrition in the countries of the South East Asia Region (SEARO) was commissioned by WHO, to obtain a holistic integrated picture of programmes in health and other sectors that influence national nutrition well being, which would help to identify activity areas that could be strengthened at both country and regional levels and which would maximise the momentum of the movement towards improved nutritional status of the people.

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