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Study: India Has Highest Number of Undernourished Children

Mahata Onrao, a tea garden worker suffering from malnutrition, looks on while his wife Sukha Onrao attends to him at a rural health center in India (File Photo)

India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with the government in New Delhi saying the country's economy will grow 9 percent in the fiscal year that begins April 1.

But a new study by Dr. S.V. Subramanian of Harvard University's School of Public Health shows that despite this economic boom, India continues to have the highest number of undernourished children in the world.

Subramanian told VOA Tuesday that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said on the record that an expanding economy will solve all problems, but that has not happened.

VOA's Ira Mellman interviews Dr. S.V. Subramanian, author of the Harvard study

The author says one of the reasons is that India's economic expansion has been limited to certain sectors of society, such as technology, while most of India is still agricultural and industrial, He said poverty in those sectors remains high.

Subramanian said another reason is that Indian policy makers are largely economists who may not understand the problem.

When asked what the government can do to fix the situation, Subramanian said there must be a substantial increase in the allocation of resources to create programs like food stamps and better access to food for children and mothers.