"Each tribal family has 8-9 children. There's no family planning and therefore the malnutrition deaths," Minister of Women and Child Welfare Usha Devi said.
The insensitive comment was slammed by the opposition.
At least 20 children died due to malnourishment in Nagada village in mineral-rich Jajpur district in the last four months.
"Nagada has opened everybody's eyes to the true state of affairs in the tribal areas. The death of children due to malnourishment has brought to the light the falsity of claims made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik about the development taking place across the state in the past 16 years," said Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra.
Notably, Nagada is situated on the hilltop in a dense forest under the Sukinda block. The children of three villages including Nagada and Guisala, are affected by malnourishment.