Journal Article

IDS Bulletin Vol. 40 Nos. 4

Lifting the Curse: Overcoming Persistent Undernutrition in India

Published on 1 July 2009

‘Economic powerhouse and nutritional weakling’ – how does India move away from this Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde existence? This is the focus of the authors in this IDS Bulletin, nearly all of whom are Indian or India-based. This IDS Bulletin first reviews child nutrition in India: what is going up and what is going down, and for whom and where? As we will see while the direction of change is far from clear, movement is sluggish.

We then ask why economic growth is not doing more to reduce undernutrition. We know that income and nutrition are not always tightly wedded, but are at least related. In India, they seem to be ships passing in the night. Why is this? The articles conclude that it is a rather toxic mix of incentives than prioritise the delivery of social inputs over outputs and practices that exclude large groups of individuals, including women and girls, from access to quality services.

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Foreword Uma Lele ix

Introduction – Lifting the Curse: Overcoming Persistent Undernutrition in India Lawrence Haddad 1


Notes on the Differing ‘States’ of Child Undernutrition in Rural India John Harriss and Neha Kohli 9

The Political Economy of India’s Malnutrition Puzzle Michael Walton 16

Discrimination and Children’s Nutritional Status in India Sukhadeo Thorat and Nidhi Sadana 25

Persistent Stunting in Middle Childhood: The Case of Andhra Pradesh Using Longitudinal Data Rozana Himaz 30

Between Emergency Responses and Rights-based Approaches: Addressing Poverty and Undernutrition in Eastern India Arjan de Haan, Amaresh Dubey and Gita Sabharwal 39


ICDS in India: Policy, Design and Delivery Issues Naresh C. Saxena and Nisha Srivastava 45 Scaling-up ICDS: Can Universalisation Address Persistent Malnutrition? Rajani R. Ved 53

Biological, Programmatic and Sociopolitical Dimensions of Child Undernutrition in Three States in India Purnima Menon, Katharina Raabe and Anjor Bhaskar 60

Monitoring for Nutrition Results in ICDS: Translating Vision into Action Saroj K. Adhikari and Caryn Bredenkamp 70

Accelerating Malnutrition Reduction in Orissa Mona Sharma, Biraj Laxmi Sarangi, Jyoti Kanungo, Sridhar Sahoo, Lopamudra Tripathy, Amalin Patnaik, Jyoti Tewari, Alison Dembo Rath 78

Making Nutrition Services Work for Socially Excluded Groups: Lessons from the Integrated Nutrition and Health Project Mukesh Kumar, Dora Warren, Sridhar Srikantiah, Sampurna Singh, George Kurian, Mercy Manoranjini, Reetu Sharma and Arundhuti Roy Choudhury 86

Bridging the Malnutrition Gap with Social Audits and Community Participation Biraj Swain and Priti Dave Sen 95


Undernutrition in Infants and Young Children in India: A Leadership Agenda for Action M.S. Swaminathan 103

Tackling Child Undernutrition in India: Governance Challenges Need More Attention Jaydeep Biswas and Jaya Singh Verma 111

Undernutrition Under Attention: The Changing Approach of the UK Department for International Development to Nutrition Jenny Amery and Anne Philpott 125

Cite this publication

Haddad, L. (2009) Lifting the Curse: Overcoming Persistent Undernutrition in India. IDS Bulletin 40(4): 1-8

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Lawrence Haddad

Honorary Associate

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Haddad, Lawrence
IDS Bulletin, volume 40, issue 4


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