The Asian Enigma: Exploring the Causal Linkages between Undernutrition and Insanitation in Children with Reference to India
12 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2015
Date Written: February 28, 2015
One of the major characteristics of economic underdevelopment is the presence of poverty that feeds on layers of inequality. Though it appears that India has made great strides in ensuring economic growth expressed through its Gross Domestic Product and increase in per capita consumption, it has been a growth story that benefitted only some at the expense of many. In India, unacceptably large number of people remain poor even when the poverty line is akin to a starvation line, i.e., millions are deprived of the basic necessities required for subsistence, much less fulfilled living. India was one of the first South Asian countries to define poverty in terms of nutritional norms. Yet it has stubbornly remained a dubious member of a group of countries where ‘the Asian Enigma’ is observed. Asian Enigma is an inexplicable puzzle of stubbornly high levels of undernutrition and stunting among children in certain regions, despite food availability. This paper proposes to trace the relation between under nutrition and insanitation in India and its effects on children under five. The study is based on secondary data. Questions of nutritional sufficiency and sanitation facilities are examined in the theoretical framework of Capabilities Approach developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. The paper concludes that universal access to sanitation is an integral step in eliminating nutritional deficiencies in children.
Keywords: Asian Enigma, Nutrition puzzle, Sanitation, Capabilities theory.
JEL Classification: I12, I15, I31, O53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation