Policies Without Politics: Analysing Nutrition Governance in India


This report seeks to understand why despite many of the right ingredients India has not had greater success with reducing the malnutrition of its children. It does so by analysing India’s recent policy experience with reducing rates of child malnutrition. It uses a series of interviews conducted in New Delhi in August 2011 to identify the main factors credited with the improvement in nutrition levels, and to understand the challenges that remain. In order to nuance the country study and to capture part of India’s complexity, a short case study of Orissa — based on additional interviews conducted in the state capital Bhubaneswar — is included to understand the state’s remarkable 10 point decrease in underweight figures between 1998-99 and 2005-06.

This country report proceeds as follows: Section 2 considers issues of data and monitoring, Section 3 identifies the main factors that have contributed to India’s recent success with reducing malnutrition rates. Sections 4, 5 and 6 analyse why nutrition rates have not come down further or faster, and divide the explanations between; (a) a lack of horizontal coordination, (b) siloed, bureaucratic vertical articulation, and (c) inadequate financial outlays. Section 7 presents a case study of Orissa, a state that has demonstrated important improvements to reduce the incidence of malnutrition. Section 8 considers the challenges that remain and identifies key entry points for policy interventions.


Shandana Khan Mohmand. Policies Without Politics: Analysing Nutrition Governance in India. Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton, UK (2012) 31 pp. [Analysing Nutrition Governance: India Country Report]

Policies Without Politics: Analysing Nutrition Governance in India

Published 1 January 2012