With millions of children in India malnourished, what can corporates do in alleviating the situation
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With millions of children in India malnourished, what can corporates do in alleviating the situation

The condition of malnutrition and starvation continues to be pressing issues in India. While many of us have taken the food grains we eat for granted, there are millions of children and adults in the remotest corners of the country dying due to starvation.

  • India ranks among 45 countries that are under serious levels of hunger.
  • The ranking of India in the Global Hunger Index has increased from 55 (2013) to 104 (2018).
  • Almost 36 percent of children are under five are malnourished leading to underweight and thousands of children die every day due to famine.

Deficiency of nutritious food hampers their physical as well as cognitive development, weakening their bodies’ immunity and making them more prone to chronic illnesses.

Various government schemes are being implemented to provide nutrition-filled meals especially to the underprivileged children. However, there are major roadblocks that come their way.  The Mid Day Meal Scheme, a school meal programme by the Indian government was developed to increase the nutritional level of the children nation-wide. Government-run schools, local body schools and Alternative and Innovative Education Centre, under the supervision of the authorities, serve lunch to the children.

Any government policy that aims to solve the needs of over 120 million children is bound to face challenges. Some of the organisational problems under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme are as follows.

  • The scheme only focuses on one day meal, the children are bereft of the other two square meals.
  • Rest of the underprivileged population are not catered to.
  • Cases of illnesses due to unhygienic or improper food preparation are nothing unheard of.

Despite the numerous efforts put forth by the government, starvation level among children in India is still sky high.

It is either the government, NGOs or the private funders from whom the funds for food come from. However big companies can also play a vital role in this. As per various reports, most of the CSR funds that have been allocated for social purposes are not being fulfilled. Hence, feeding the undernourished child can be mandated under CSR the work of which can be handled by the NGOs that have the experience in this sector at grass-root level.

Associating the companies with various NGOs and mandating them to contribute towards feeding the poor as part of their CSR programmes can possibly solve the issue of hunger and starvation. This would not only ensure proper utilisation of the CSR funds but also tackle one of the burning social issues in India. Strong association between the government, NGOs and the corporate sector can pull millions of children out of the dreadful nightmare they have been living under.

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