ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fulfilling the Sustainable Development Nutrition Targets

The Case of Bihar

The study reveals that Bihar will miss the nutrition-related target of SDG-2 by 2030 based on the NFHS-3, NFHS-4, and NFHS-5 data. District-level planning is needed to design nutrition-specifi c programmes and control malnutrition at an early stage, according to the fi ndings.

Bihar is one of the most multidimensionally deprived states in India. The per capita income of the state is only 31.6% of India’s per capita income. Out of the total poor in India, 13.3% reside in Bihar, with 33.7% of the population still below poverty line as against the all-India poverty rate of 22% (according to poverty line as defined by Tendulkar Committee). About 52.5% of its population is multidimensionally poor with deprivation existing not only in terms of income or consumption expenditure but also in the context of access to health, education, safe drinking water, sanitation, etc. Malnutrition continues to remain a matter of grave concern in Bihar. Almost half of the children under the age of five are stunted (low height for age) and one-fifth of them are wasted (National Family and Health Survey [NFHS]-4). One in two girls aged 15–19 years are undernourished and one-third of women in the reproductive age group are undernourished. According to the composite Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) index constructed by the NITI Aayog, Bihar is penultimate in terms of SDG-2 on zero hunger and in terms of overall development indices, it stood last among the states (SDG India Index 2020–21). The findings from NFHS-5, which was released just before the COVID-19 crisis, indicate that there is barely any improvement in malnutrition indicators in Bihar. The COVID-19 outbreak has also severely affected the food and nutrition security of the households in rural Bihar.

The study also found that at the all-India level, households with adult females and children were affected more than their male members in terms of the number of meals consumed per day in the post-COVID-19 period due to loss or disruption in livelihood activity, and subsequent income loss since the lockdown, as well as due to hike in the food prices (Dutta et al 2021). In addition, there was severe disruption of midday meals and other nutrition-related services because of the closure of schools and anganwadi centres (AWC). The provision of regular health services also declined sharply since COVID-19. In April–May 2020, the proportion of antenatal care was only 80% of that in April–May 2019 and the coverage of child immunisation in April–May 2020 was only three-fourths of that in April–May 2019. These figures are at least 20% less for Bihar (Drèze and Paikra 2020).

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Updated On : 20th Nov, 2022
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