India is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 (2005-06) conducted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, 42.5 percent of the children below five years are underweight.
However, the provisional India Fact Sheet of the Rapid Survey on Children (RSoC) commissioned by Ministry of Women and Child Development with assistance from UNICEF India has been released. As per these figures, there is a reduction in underweight among children under 5 years of age from 42.5% in NFHS-3 to 29.4% as per RSoC.
As per NFHS-3, the latest nationally representative data, the prevalence of underweight in children under 5 years of age in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan is 37%, 42.4%, 55.9% and 39.9% respectively.
The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes/programs of different Ministries/Departments through State Governments/UT Administrations.
This Ministry is implementing Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) namely SABLA, and Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY) as direct targeted interventions.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha.