Diets, Nutrition and poverty: the Indian experience

Author name: 
Raghav Gaiha
Raghbendra Jha
Vani S. Kulkarni

This chapter focuses on the Indian experience with dietary changes, their nutritional implications, and policy response to alleviate nutritional deprivation. We review the evidence on nutrient intake and dietary changes, particularly the downward shift in calorie, protein and other nutrient intake over the period 1993–2004 and provide a demand based explanation of this shift. We report on eating out as an aspect of dietary transition, examine the relationship between calorie deprivation and poverty, and argue against delinking of the two. We analyse poverty nutrition traps, whether child undernutrition is underestimated and the double burden of undernutrition and obesity. We examine the (potential) contribution of National Rural Guarantee Scheme and Public Distribution System in mitigating the extent and severity of undernutrition. We emphasize that food security entails a right to certain policies to ensure food entitlements, as opposed to a narrow interpretation of the right to food in terms of state provisioning of these entitlements. Conclusions from a broad policy perspective are delineated.

Publication file: 

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