Social Issues Current Affairs
Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has announced to observe September 2018 as the National Nutrition Month to mark the country’s fight against malnutrition. The month-long intensive campaign will be undertaken with an aim of reaching every household with message of nutrition — ‘har ghar poshan tyohar’ (every house a celebration of nutrition).
National Nutrition Month
It will promote antenatal care, breastfeeding, fight anemia, convey messages about importance of nutrition for girls and right age of marriage, deliver messages about importance of growth monitoring and also promote hygiene and sanitation. It will be jointly organised by NITI Ayog, Ministries of Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Housing and Urban Affairs, Human Resources Development (HRD), Information and Broadcasting, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs and AYUSH.
India has very high burden of malnutrition. According to National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), 38.% of India’s children aged less than 5 years are stunted (less height for their age), 21% are wasted (less weight for their height) and 35.7% are underweight. Between 2005-06 (when NFHS-3 was conducted) and 2015-16 (when NFHS-4 was conducted) the percentage of wasted children went up from 19.8% to 21% and percentage of severely wasted children went up from 6.4% to 7.5%. India also ranks low 100th out of 119 countries on 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI) and was placed at high end of “serious” category in GHI severity scale, owing mainly to fact that one in every five children under age 5 is “wasted” (low weight for height). Government already has embarked on Rs 9000-crore to Poshan Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission) to fight malnutrition. It was launched in March 2018. The mission targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight. The target of mission is to bring down stunting among children up to age of six years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.
According to recent study released by LIRNEAsia, India has highest gender gap in mobile phone ownership amongst 18 comparable countries and ranks among the lowest in women’s access to Internet. LIRNEAsia is an information and communications technology (ICT) policy think tank that is involved in pro-poor, pro-market research in Asia-Pacific since 2005. The study also included comparative research done by ICT Africa in Africa and DIRSI in Latin America.
Key Highlights of Study
Ownership of mobile phones: Only 43% of women in India own mobile phones compared to almost 80% of Indian males mostly because of lack of awareness. This difference is almost half of all other countries in study including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Rwanda. There is substantial urban-rural divide in mobile phone ownership with 71% urban penetration and 55% in rural. India’s urban-rural gap is comparable to that in Nigeria.
Internet and social media usage: Women, rural citizens, and those with lower education or income significantly lag behind in internet and social media usage. The gender gap in internet usage is accentuated in rural regions at 52% as compared to 34% in urban areas. India’s 57% gender gap in Internet usage was surpassed only by Bangladesh and Rwanda. Its gender gap in social media usage was even higher with wider divides only in Bangladesh.
Information about internet: In India, 64% do not know about internet which is higher percentage than other countries except Pakistan and Bangladesh. 68% of this group was female and 68 % were from rural areas. India’s internet use was at 19% which is lower than that of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Cambodia.
E-commerce: Awareness of platforms for e-commerce was higher in India compared to Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India, 27% mainly use social media, 16 % for entertainment and 15% for news. Higher percentage of women used social media for marketing and educational content, while men used social media to chat which is significantly more than women.
Political views on social media: Indian social media users share their political views at some of highest rates. More than half shared their religion, 26% share their sexual orientation, and 70% shared their mobile number or email address. Women shared information less than men in almost all categories except for political and sexual orientation.
Distrust of news: India also has high distrust of news shared on social media and only 29% trust social media news while more than half did not. India also saw higher online harassment than Pakistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia at 19% of users. Much of this was offensive name-calling and in 20% of such cases, it led to reduced use of particular website.