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ANSWERED ON:  12.07.2019
Infant Deaths
Chandra Sekhar Sahu
Will the Minister of

WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT be pleased to state:-

(a) whether according to a report by the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, three infants die every two minutes on an average in India due to lack of access to water, sanitation, proper nutrition or basic health service and if so, the details thereof;
(b) whether the number of infant deaths in India is the highest in the world, according to the report and if so, the facts in this regard, State-wise ;
(c) whether the budget allocation for the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) shows a declining trend in India and if so, the details thereof;
(d) whether child malnutrition is soaring but funding for India’s child development scheme remains anaemic, if so, the details thereof and the response of the Government thereto; and
(e) the steps taken or being taken by the Government to eradicate the problem of malnutrition in India?


(a) to (e): A statement is laid on the Table of the House.


Statement referred to in reply to Part (a) to (e) of Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 295 for 12.07.2019 by Shri Chandra Sekhar Sahu regarding Infant Death.

(a) & (b): As per UN inter-agency group for child mortality estimation, Sub-Saharan Africa region is having highest mortality rate in the world. As per this report globally the leading cause of death among children under age 5 included preterm birth complications (18 percent), pneumonia (16 percent), intrapartum related events (12 percent), congenital anomalies (9 percent), diarrhoea (8 percent), neonatal sepsis (7 percent) and malaria (5 percent). As per report, these deaths reflect the limited access of children and communities to basic health intervention such as vaccination, medical treatment of infectious diseases, adequate nutrition, clean water and sanitation. As per Sample Registration System, report of Registrar General of India, the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) for India is 33 per 1000 live births in the year 2017, which shows a significant decline in past one decade.

(c): Budget allocation for the Anganwadi Services (earlier known as ICDS) under Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) has increased every subsequent year. The details of budget allocation for the said Scheme during last three years and current year are as under:
(Rupees in Cr.)

Sl.No. Year Budget Estimates Revised Estimates
1. 2016-17 14,000.00 14,560.60
2. 2017-18 15,245.19 15,245.19
3. 2018-19 16,334.88 17,879.17
4 2019-20 19,934.37 -

(d): As a result of the concerted efforts of the Government, the level of malnutrition among women and children has reduced in the country as is evident from the report of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4)(2015-16). As per the said report, 35.7% children under 5 years of age are underweight and 38.4% are stunted indicating a reduction from the previous NFHS – 3 conducted in 2005-06, which reported 42.5% children under 5 years of age as underweight and 48% stunted. The level of wasting and anaemia among the children is at 21% and 58.4% respectively. As mentioned above, there is increase every year in the funding for the Anganwadi Services scheme.

(e): The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing following schemes to address the issue of malnutrition:

i. Government has set up POSHAN Abhiyaan on 18.12.2017 for a three year time frame commencing from 2017-18. All 36 States/UTs and districts have been covered. The goals of POSHAN Abhiyaan are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the three years with fixed targets as under:

S.No Objective Target
1. Prevent and reduce Stunting in children (0- 6 years) By 6% @ 2% p.a.
2. Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0-6 years) By 6% @ 2% p.a.
3. Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among young Children(6-59 months) By 9% @ 3% p.a.
4. Reduce the prevalence of anaemia among Women and Adolescent Girls in the age group of 15-49 years. By 9% @ 3% p.a.
5. Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW). By 6% @ 2% p.a.

ii. The Abhiyaan aims to reduce malnutrition in the Country in a phased manner, through a life cycle approach, by adopting a synergised and result oriented approach. The Abhiyaan will ensure mechanisms for timely service delivery and a robust monitoring as well as intervention infrastructure. Target is to bring down stunting of the children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022. The major works undertaken under this Abhiyaan are ensuring convergence with various other programmes; Information Technology enabled Common Application Software for strengthening service delivery and interventions; Community Mobilization and Awareness Advocacy leading to Jan Andolan- to educate the people on nutritional aspects; Capacity Building of Frontline Functionaries, incentivizing States/ UTs for achieving goals etc.

iii. Anganwadi Services, which aim to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years, pregnant women & lactating mothers and reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity and malnutrition. Under the Scheme, a package of six services is provided through a network of Anganwadi Centers, which includes Supplementary Nutrition, Pre-school non-formal Education, Nutrition & Health Education, Immunization, Health check-up and Referral Services

iv. Scheme for Adolescent Girls is implemented for out-of-school adolescent girls in the age group of 11-14 years for self-development and empowerment of adolescent girls; improvement of nutritional and health status; to promote awareness about health, hygiene & nutrition; support out of school Adolescent Girls to successfully transition back to formal schooling or bridge learning/skill training; upgrade their home-based skills and life skills.

v. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana for Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers with the objectives of (i) providing partial compensation for the wage loss in terms of cash incentives so that a woman can take adequate rest before and after delivery of first living child; and (ii) the cash incentive provided would lead to improved health seeking behaviour amongst the Pregnant Women & Lactating Mother (PW&LM).

vi. Besides, Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development with its 43 field units in India is engaged in creating awareness about nutrition in collaboration with State Government / institutions through exhibitions; advertisement in audio-visual and print media; lectures promoting the consumption of balanced diets and inclusion of fruits and vegetables in daily diets in addition to demonstrations of low cost nutritious recipes using locally available foods; training of field functionaries and training in food preservation for grassroots level workers; celebration of nutrition related events, etc.

vii. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also addresses the issue of under- nutrition through various interventions like promotion of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs), Vitamin A Supplementation (VAS),Village Health and Nutrition Days and Mother and Child Protection Card, Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) strategy, Home Based New Born Care and Home Based Care for Young Child Programmes, National Deworming Day, Promotion for intake of Iodised Salt, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) and Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) and Food Fortification.

viii. All these schemes address one or other aspects related to nutrition and have the potential to improve nutritional outcomes in the country. As a result of these concerted efforts, the level of malnutrition has reduced in the country as is evident from the recent report of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – 4, 2015-16 mentioned above.


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