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Making Investments in Maternal Nutrition and Sanitation and Changing Social Norms to Enhance their Effectiveness can help to Exploit India s Demographic Dividend

Budget - Dated:- 26-2-2016 - The National Food Security Act and Swachh Bharat are part of the Government s Policy Agenda to Improve Maternal and Early Life Health The Economic Survey 2015-16 presented today in the Parliament by the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley highlights that relatively low cost maternal and early life health and nutrition programs offer very high returns on investments. Investments in maternal, nutrition and sanitation and enhancing their effectiveness by changing s .....

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opportunity for fiscal and capacity constrained governments. The Survey notes three things with regards to height for age of children in India - There has been a gradual improvement in both rural and urban India. The children surveyed during the RSCO 2013-14 round are on average taller than those surveyed during NFHS 2005-06. There is a persistent rural-urban height gap. India remains a negative outlier with children being on average two standard deviation shorter than the healthy average. The S .....

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ly to be underweight. Additionally, Indian women do-not gain enough weight during pregnancy. Women in India gain 7 kgs. during pregnancy compared to the WHO recommended figure of 12.5-18 kgs. Another reason for poor maternal health is that social norms accord young women low status in joint households. This results in stark within-household nutritional differential. Investing in maternal health could become a top policy priority of the government. The National Food Security Act 2013, legislating .....

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