With estimated 50 per cent of children in Bihar found underweight due to malnourishment, the state government is in the process of drafting a nutritional policy to cut down malnourishment rate to 20 per cent in another four years.
"The state social welfare department is working on nutritional policy, 2014 to bring down malnourishment figure to 20 per cent by 2018," Principal Secretary of Social Welfare Department Amarjeet Sinha told PTI. Emphasis in the policy would be to fight problem of malnourishment through Manav Vikash Mission (human skill development mission), he said. The draft of the nutritional policy is ready and it would see light of the day soon, Sinha said.
The status report of ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme), 2013 found that about 2.3 crore children in the country up to 6 years of age are suffering from malnourishment and are under weight. Bihar is the worst effected, where 50 per cent of the children were found under weight.
The same was 37 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 36 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and 35 per cent in Delhi, the ICDS report said.
A Bihar government report in 2006 highlighted that 50 children out of 100 in Bihar are stunted. If a child is found stunted it means he or she is has not been gaining height for a long time. This is either because being unwell or not fed adequately for long.
A state government survey in 2010 found that 23 districts in Bihar had prevalence of malnourishment among children. Kisanganj was the worst where 65 out of 100 children were found suffering from malnourishment.