Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has branded malnutrition among children as a "national shame" after a report said that nearly half of children under five in the country were underweight. According to the report, 42 per cent of children in that age bracket are suffering from malnutrition. Singh said the level of malnutrition in India was "unacceptably high". The Hunger and Malnutrition Report also said that one in three malnourished children in the world is Indian.
India has fallen in child development rankings, putting it behind poorer countries such as neighbouring Bangladesh or the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a new study by the Save the Children charity.
Acute poverty, unemployment, poor income and lack of health services coupled with government's apathy towards providing food for all have made hunger a "national disease" for underprivileged children. Figures say that India hardly spends on health programmes. Only 1.67% of GDP has been earmarked in the 12th Plan for health.
"Food security is a must for families if we have to ensure proper care of children. The way forward is to work towards building the family as a unit of development rather than looking at issues in isolation," says Nina Nayak, chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Children's day, in hindi known as "Bal Diwas", in India falls on November 14th every year and for good reason. Children's day in India is celebrated on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday as a day of fun and frolic, a celebration of childhood and Nehruji's love for them.