Undernutrition and Public Policy in India

This project explores the reasons why India’s burgeoning growth rates have not translated into better nutrition outcomes for its people, and aims to understand and shape the current policy process around the proposed National Food Security Act (NFSA) as well as restructuring of Public Distribution System (PDS) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) that can lead to improved nutritional outcomes and better food security.

The research recognises and responds to the gap between policy actors and researchers, seeking to build an interface such that research is responsible to policy needs, and policy processes in turn take research on board while planning appropriate nutrition interventions.

The project has two distinct streams. Firstly, it involves an analysis of existing datasets for examining the magnitude and distribution of malnutrition, the ways in which income and dietary compositions affect nutrition, the gendered implications of these and the interplay of nutrition with water and sanitation issues.

The second stream is a political economy analysis of the policy needs for designing and implementing nutrition focussed initiatives, undertaken through stakeholder mapping, consultations and in depth interviews.

These two streams of work come together in establishing the research gaps on the subject, and responding to it by commissioning 15-18 research articles on identified needs. The outputs from these research articles will feed into a policy influencing and uptake process, through developing policy briefs, web material, a face-to-face interaction (conference) and an edited book collection.

There are two main research questions guiding the IDS led strand of the work on the political economy analysis of public policy in India.

  1. What are the governance challenges in formulating public policy initiatives to address the problem of undernutrition, and what are the barriers to the implementation of these initiatives?
  2. How can the National Food Security Act be made more nutrition sensitive?

 International Development Research Centre (IDRC) logo                                         National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)

Project details

start date
1 July 2012
end date
1 June 2014


About this project