The prevalence of undernourishment in the total population of India has declined from 21.7% in 2004–06 to 14% in 2017–19 according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report. Although it’s good news, let’s not forget that 189.2 million people are still undernourished.

Image from Tribune India

What is undernourishment?

Having a diet that is both sufficient in terms of energy (caloric) requirements and diverse to meet additional nutritional needs is essential for good health. Undernourishment, especially in children and mothers, is a leading risk factor for death and other health consequences. The UN has set a global target as part of the Sustainable Development Goals to “end hunger by 2030“.

The decline of undernourishment in India has happened due to various reasons such as:

  1. Economy growth

Results reveal that faster annual economic growth leads to larger annual improvements in undernourishment rates. Both annual and long-term economic growth are relevant. In addition to economic growth, investments in health, education, and access to drinking water are also enabling factors for reducing undernourishment.

2. Reduced Inequality

Reduced inequality has a direct impact on undernourishment. The patriarchal mindset of male dominance, gender inequality in household chores, classification of work based on gender, and food discrimination causes poverty, deprivation of education, etc. Over the past decade, there has been a shift in these aspects of the society and a strive towards gender equality and a paradigm shift towards gender roles has been observed. This is changing the way of living and growing in the world.

3. Improved access to basic needs

At present, due to advancements in technology, it has become easy to reach people in need of basic necessities. Better engagement of civil society and the private sector are crucial to accelerating the process. Devoted funding to nutrition programs. NGOs, fundraising programs have also been an important part of reducing hunger.

Though these changes have helped in reducing undernourishment in the country, there is a long way to go, with the disparity in income, unemployment and underemployment, poverty, low standards of living, beggary, unequal distribution of food, undernourishment, etc are still a threat. The COVID-19 is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems — understood as all the activities and processes affecting the production, distribution, and consumption of food. The study calls on the governments to mainstream nutrition in their approaches to agriculture; work to cut cost-escalating factors in the production, storage, transport, distribution, and marketing of food, including by reducing inefficiencies and food loss and waste.

Well. with a call for better planning and implementation of policies and the hope remains in the decline of undernourishment, for the country as well as the world to be free from hunger issues.

Contributed by Drishti D Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang

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