Why Mumbai, India’s most productive city, is losing the battle against child malnutrition
The Colaba Mumbai is famous for its Art Deco-style buildings, the India Gate, pubs and buches restaurants and nice walk to Marine Drive. It houses the state assembly, Vidhan Bhavan and the Secretary of State, Mantralaya.
Praja also found that malnutrition has quadrupled in municipal school children in Mumbai, 8% in 2013-14 to 34% in 2015-16, although much of the budget for the meal program was not used at noon .
How can such a serious situation be found in the city that generates more money than any other in India, ranked 17th among the 20 richest cities in the world? In this two-part series, IndiaSpend tries to answer this question. This story takes a deep immersion in the data and also visit some of the poorest areas of Mumbai to explore the magnitude of the problem.
The next part will examine the difficulties of the urban poor, focusing on how children in particular suffer, and exploring the interventions that can help.
Skyscrapers and poor neighborhoods
Slums are not easily detected in Colaba, where property prices increased to Rs 1,00,000 per square foot. However, towards the sharp edge of the city on the island, bordering the area of the Nagar Armada’s defense forces, Geeta Nagar is located. Among the houses in poor condition, you can see the sea and the high tide brings the sea water in the houses of people.
The Geeta Nagar colony came in the 1960s, when workers at Tata’s basic research institute settled here. With a population of 6000 today, it is not so populated and resource-poor than other areas of informal slums in Mumbai.
“Most of the community here is the migrants from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Most mothers work as domestic help in nearby houses and parents work as drivers or security personnel.” Velankani Joseph, a social worker who lives here and works for the fourth Convent of Jesus and Mother, a school, told India.
“Because mothers can not prepare a meal [at home] in a day, the children here eat cookies, chips and snacks between meals.”
49% of children and 59% of girls were malnourished in Colaba Ward, where Geeta Nagar is located in 2015-16, the praja report cited above. The total number of malnourished children increased from 244 in 2014-15 to 2,768 in 2015-16, according to the report.
Malnutrition in government-run schools has increased four-fold
The Civic Corps of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Brihanmumbai (BMC), conducts an annual health assessment of all children studying in schools.
Praja access data from legal deposits to information and conclusion from analyzing data that younger children were more likely to be malnourished: 73% of undernourished children in 2015-16 studied between classes I to V.