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High-profile MPs have not paid attention to a grave issue in their backyard

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As things stand, 2019 is likely to be an election driven by emotion. As Narendra Modi hit out at the Opposition that they were trying to “finish Modi” while he wanted to finish “terrorism, poverty and malnutrition”, it is probably the first time that a prime minister had put combating malnutrition amongst his top three priorities, and that too as an election promise.

As poll talk generates heat, a report has put out cold figures about child malnutrition in India’s 543 Lok Sabha constituencies. This is the first time that constituency-wise data has been released by a Harvard professor, S V Subramanian, and his team, including researchers from the Indian Institute of Economic Growth, and supported by Tata Trust. The report ranks every constituency by five indicators on stunting, wasting, underweight, low birth weight and anaemia amongst children.

Most surprising, India’s women and child development minister, who is supposed to ensure that no child in the country remains stunted and the scourge of anaemia is removed, is virtually at the bottom of the heap as far as her own constituency, Pilibhit, goes. Maneka Gandhi ranks 14 th from the bottom in anaemia. This when the government has brought huge energy into its social sector programming, particularly the Poshan Abhiyan to eliminate malnutrition, which was launched last year by the prime minister in Jhunjhunu.

It would be unfair to single out Maneka Gandhi. For the story of all the big daddies and equally powerful mummies of........

© Indian Express