CRY IIT Kharagpur
5 min readOct 16, 2020


I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”

― Tony Campolo

How easily do we complain about the food which we get to eat, honestly this being quite a fortunate thing for us, without having any realization that 19 crore Indians go to bed hungry every day!

Not surprising that these people aren’t even having a ‘bed’ too to sleep in. But let's keep this worry to discuss on some other day!

A country’s development, talking about India specifically, let it be economic or social, cannot be elevated unless the issue of malnutrition is addressed. Nutrition is directly related to human resource development. Malnutrition is a severe condition existing in any country as are poverty, illiteracy, and many other conditions.

Children of today are citizens of tomorrow, and hence improving the nutritional status of children becomes extremely important. Early childhood constitutes the most crucial period of life when the foundations are laid for cognitive, social and emotional, language, physical/motor development, and cumulative lifelong learning.

India is home to 46.6 million stunted children, a third of the world’s total as per the Global Nutrition Report 2018. Nearly half of all under-5 child mortality in India is attributable to undernutrition.

‘Good nutrition allows children to survive, grow, develop, learn, play, participate, and contribute — while malnutrition robs children of their futures and leaves young lives hanging in the balance’.


Malnutrition is a condition that refers to deficiency, excess, or imbalance of nutrients in one’s body. Malnutrition can either be due to inadequate intake or an excess intake of calories(categorized as obese).

The term malnutrition covers two broad groups of conditions namely undernutrition and overnutrition. One is ‘undernutrition’ — which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age), and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). Another one is overweight, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer).

Malnutrition exists in all age groups: infants, children, adolescents, and adults all of them suffer, either undernourishment or over- nourishment.


The main cause, no doubt, remains poverty levels in the country. India is estimated to have one-third of the world’s poor. The poorest parts of India are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal.

The rising inequality levels in the country also are alarming enough. India’s top 10% of the population holds 73% of the wealth.

In poor and illiterate areas, there’s still not enough knowledge about the importance of maternal health. Lack of sanitation, hygiene, in the home environment gives rise to diseases like diarrhoea, malaria.

Lack of access to food and safe drinking water also accounts for hunger and leads to malnutrition. Awareness about family planning in illiterate areas also counts.

On the other hand, the Effect of globalization and technological revolution brought significant changes in nutrition transition, and consumption of fast food and lifestyle changes have been responsible for obesity and its consequences.

It leads to fatigue feeling and craving for sugar, adult obesity, hypertension, the effect on kidney and liver, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dental carries, cancers, childhood obesity, allergic manifestations, growth retardation, disruption of cellular environment structure and function, drowsiness, and infertility in young men and women.


MHRD(Ministry of Human Resource and Development) and NNS(National Nutrition Strategy), ICDs(Integrated Child Development Services), and tons of government initiatives aim to curb malnutrition levels in the country.

Besides agriculture being the prime sector, reforms are needed to ensure proper food and nutrition security and that the food reaches the root level (individual level).

But what is important is what we do on our part.

An eye-opening revelation had been made by a report cited in the CSR journal. It says “Indians waste as much food as the whole of United Kingdom consumes”. In a nation like India where millions still sleep hungry on the streets, it’s not a good statistic.

Tonnes of food is wasted in marriages and functions every day. Weddings, canteens, hotels, social and family functions, households, spew out so much food.

Global hunger report says that almost Rs. 244 crore of food gets wasted every day!

Such a situation raises a concern that food ‘never reaches the needy’.

One can surely assure that one wastes minimum food acting as a responsible citizen.

We surely can visit the poor who sleep hungry at most times and hand them over the leftover.

It doesn’t require many efforts but a responsible citizen is one who can practice this and can be a savior for hundreds.


Every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance.

- Sigmund Freud

There’s no doubt reality statistics about Malnutrition among children, poverty and food wastage are quite depressing, but trying to eradicating such a serious deep-rooted issue such as malnutrition, would definitely take years of consistent effort of all.

Over a period, undernutrition has declined but this has been compensated by overnutrition, the over-hyped western lifestyle has affected the diets of many.

Also, high economic growth rates have failed to improve food security in India.

Major contributions to achieving this dream still lie in educating the nation. We have to teach children about washing their hands before eating, their parents about the importance of the health of theirs as well as their kids, that swaggy kid to keep aside that burger and eat some broccoli, And to all of us not to cry over the food and try not to waste them.

The dream is far to be foreseen, but it's still there waiting to manifest itself.

Credits: Avanti Hargude



CRY IIT Kharagpur

We are a group of volunteers working for the children in Kharagpur.