Adivasis and Dalits are the social categories who are most deprived of basic health facilities among others, reveals the latest NFHS – 4 survey. The children belonging to SC, ST castes are suffering from under nutrition, indicating that these are the people at the bottom end of receiving development and welfare policies being implemented in the last seventy years of Independent rule in this country.
The prevalence of Anaemia and malnutrition is higher among people belonging to marginalised sections including scheduled castes and scheduled tribes when compared to those from the general category, according to the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS - 4) which was conducted in 2015 – 2016.
The survey put forward various percentages of the key indicators of malnourishment among children under five years – 38 percent are stunted (short for their age), 21 percent are wasted (thin for their height), and 36 percent are underweight (thin for their age) in the country.
Among children (under five years) belonging to Scheduled Tribes, 43.8 percent are stunted, 27.4 are wasted and 45.3 are underweight. This is the highest percentage share in all the three categories. Among children belonging to Scheduled Caste, 42.8 percent are stunted, 21.2 percent are wasted and 39.1 percent are underweight.
The table below shows the caste-wise malnourishment percentages among children under five years:
The prevalence of Anaemia (lower levels of haemoglobin in the blood) among children is also higher among SC and STs. 58 percent of children under five years are affected with anaemia in the country, compared to 53.9 percent of children belonging to the general category. This is lower than the percentage of afflicted children belonging to SC, ST and OBC castes which are 60.5, 63.1 and 58.6 respectively.
The NFHS 4 survey has also put forward indicators on fertility, mortality, family planning, maternal and child health, child nutrition, domestic violence and so on with little improvement seen in the last ten years.
Last year, India was ranked 100 out of 119 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2017.