Tribal undernutrition being a persisting concern over the years, there is as yet no specific policy to address the issue and streamline the government’s efforts across sectors. The efforts at both the Union Government and state levels remain fragmented and lack effective implementation. While some states have shown initiative to introduce specific schemes, the approach remains limited to tackling immediate issues relating to diet and disease, and does not sufficiently address the larger issues of poverty, food insecurity at household level, landlessness and shrinking livelihoods, among others.

In this context, the government needs to play a more proactive role and form a policy for coordinated action across ministries, such as tribal affairs, women and child development, agriculture, rural development, drinking water and sanitation, and human resource development (education), to inform and strengthen their efforts towards tackling tribal undernutrition.

This article was originally published on India Development Review. You can read it here.

* Figures taken from International Institute for Population Sciences (2017): “National Family Health Survey (NFHS–4), 2015–2016: India Report,” Mumbai, India: International Institute for Population Sciences.

**Conventionally, in the budgeting system followed in India, all kinds of budget allocations/expenditures (whether on recurring heads like staff salaries or on capital heads like construction of infrastructure) are reported as ‘Plan’ allocations/expenditures if they are incurred on any of the programmes/schemes that are part of the ongoing Five Year Plan (national or state-specific Five Year Plan). All other kinds of budget allocations expenditures (whether on recurring or on capital heads), which are outside the purview of the ongoing FYP, are reported as ‘Non-plan’.

The author works with the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi, where she engages with a range of issues in the domain of government policies and budgets. Her core areas of expertise include public investment in nutrition and budgeting for disadvantaged sections. At present, she leads CBGA’s research on Public Financing for Nutrition at the national and sub-national level.