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The health, longevity and well-being of Indians has improved since Independence, and the high levels of economic growth over the past two-and-half-decades have made more funds available to spend on the social sector. Yet, the reality is that a third of the world’s stunted children under five — an estimated 46.6 million who have low height for age — live in India. A quarter of the children display wasting (that is, low weight for height) as well. As the Global Nutrition Report 2018 points out, this finding masks the wide variation in stunting levels in different parts of the country. Food and freedom go together in tandem, and the availability of one strongly influences access to the other; social institutions can work to improve nutrition and children’s welfare in free societies, and the absence of hunger enables people to develop their capabilities. Governments should acknowledge the linkages and commit themselves to improved nutritional policies. The national framework to improve nutrition already exists. The Anganwadi Services scheme, which incorporates the Integrated Child Development Services, caters to children up to age six, and to pregnant and lactating women. If it has not worked well in several States, it must be subjected to a rigorous review and targeted interventions for supplementary nutrition made.
Among the factors affecting the quantity and quality of nutrition are maternal education, age at marriage, antenatal care, children’s diet and household size. Now that mapping of malnutrition at the district level is available, as in the Global Nutrition Report, it is incumbent on State governments to address these determining factors. A second issue is that of the quality of nutrition in packaged foods available to children. Going by the report, only 21% of these foods in India were rated as being healthy, based on overall energy, salt, sugar and saturated fat on the negative side, and vegetable, fruit, protein, fibre and calcium as positive factors. The fact that the global average of processed foods scored only 31% and a peak of 37% in New Zealand indicates that whole foods and cooked meals emerge superior. India should invest more of its economic prosperity in its welfare system, without restraining itself in restrictive budgetary formulations. The Economic Survey 2017-18 put social services spending at 6.6% of GDP, an insignificant rise after a marginal decline from the 6% band during the previous year to 5.8%. The latest report on stunting and wasting should convince the Centre that it needs to understand the problem better and work in synergy with the States to give India’s children a healthy future.
1. Longevity (noun) : लंबी उम्र
Meaning : long existence or service.
Synonym : lastingness, endurance, durability
Antonym : short-lived, temporary
The people living in villages enjoy good health and longevity.
He attributes his longevity to ‘a simple diet and a glass of wine every day’.
2. Stunted (verb) : छोटे क़द का
Meaning : prevented from growing or developing properly.
Synonym : inhibited, hampered
Antonym : promoted, encouraged
Lack of food had stunted his growth.
His personality was stunted by the brutal treatment in his childhood.
3. Tandem (adjective) : मिलकर
Meaning : together, working as one
Synonym : coordinated, together
Antonym : separately, individually
The two systems are designed to work in tandem.
Working in tandem improves efficiency.
4. Incorporates (verb) : सम्मिलित
Meaning : take in or contain (something) as part of a whole; include.
Synonym : absorb, include,assimilate
Antonym : exclude, disperse
We shall try to incorporate some of your ideas in our future plan.
The new cars will incorporate a number of major improvements.
5. Cater (verb) : पूरा
Meaning : provide with what is needed or required.
Synonym : serve, oblige
Antonym : ignore, neglect
TV programmes should cater to all tastes.
Our plans need to be flexible enough to cater for the needs of everyone.
6. Rigorous (adjective) : कठिन
Meaning : (of a rule, system, etc.) strictly applied or adhered to.
Synonym : stringent, austere
Antonym : flexible, lenient
The selection process is based on rigorous tests of competence and experience.
The planes have to undergo rigorous safety checks.
7. Incumbent (adjective) : निर्भर
Meaning : necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility.
Synonym : binding, obligatory
Antonym : optional, unnecessary
It is incumbent upon all of us to make an extra effort.
It is incumbent upon parents to control what their children watch on TV.
8. Saturated (adjective) : तर-बतर
Meaning : holding as much water or moisture as can be absorbed; thoroughly soaked.
Synonym : saoked, sodden
Antonym : dried-out, empty
Fish oils are less saturated than animal fats.
The grass had been saturated by overnight rain.
9. Restraining (verb) : संयम
Meaning : a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control.
Synonym : self-control, moderation
Antonym : permit, release
The police had difficulty in restraining the crowd from rushing on to the pitch.
10. Synergy (noun) : तालमेल
Meaning : the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
Synonym : coalesce, combine
Antonym : discord, separation
Team work at its best results in a synergy that can be very productive.
Any team with synergy among its players succeed every time