ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ACCESSION OF CHILD MALNUTRITION IN MUMBAI
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© Sanjay Rode 2011
Mumbai city is the financial capital of India and it is contributing more in terms of tax and record maximum trade with other countries. Many headquarters of banks, stock exchanges and offices of multinational companies are located in the city. Mumbai city provides higher income through various business and employment opportunities to the population. Therefore, skilled and unskilled workers from all over the country migrate to the city. Skilled workers do not find any problem of housing and employment but unskilled workers have difficulty in finding jobs, housing. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation provides water supply, sanitation, transport and health care. Such social infrastructure facilities are expected to improve the standard of living of the population in the city. Every year government of Maharashtra and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation spend money on creation and maintaining civic infrastructure. Therefore, higher incidence of malnutrition among children is not expected. But rising migration and density of the population, the standard of living of the population is declining. Lack of housing forced people to stay in slums. Nearly fifty percent of the population is living in slums without basic infrastructure facilities. The number is continuously rising due to the migration. Health care facilities are overcrowded and they are beyond the reach of poor people. The women and children suffer due to water washed and water borne diseases. Drinking water is not adequately provided in all slums. We conducted survey of 1007 households in Mumbai city in 2003 to understand the malnutrition among 0-5 age group children. For comparison again in 2011, we conducted sample of 1050 households in Eastern and Western suburbs of the city. Both samples were conducted in kutcha slums in city. We found that stunting among children has increased in Mumbai city. The incidence of severe malnutrition is continuously increasing. Therefore, we have calculated 2092 to 3138 annual deaths due to malnutrition in city in the current sample. Such deaths are calculated only in 0-5 age group children. But increasing migration and density of population has affected the quality of services provided in the city. It has resulted in inadequate housing, water supply, electricity and transportation. Women and children have to carry drinking water for long distances. The opportunity cost of carrying water is much higher for women and children in the city. Most of the women are involved in the informal sector jobs. They cannot visit public health care facilities because they are overcrowded. Prenatal and postnatal visits are very low among women in urban slums. Visiting health care facilities has a high direct and indirect cost. The cost of medicines, standing in long queues, waiting cost is much higher for the poor households. Therefore, repeated visits to health care facility are not possible. In the informal sector, workers are removed from their jobs if they remain absent for different reasons. ICDS services have lower coverage in Mumbai city. Due to less remuneration to women, equipment and lack of space, reduces the supplementary feeding to children, lactating and pregnant women. In order to reduce the malnutrition among children, the government must raise the level of income of slum households. Women must be given technical training for self-employment. The role of SEWA is effective in order to improve the status of women in society. There is need to expand the ICDS services coverage in city. There should be incentives for the anganwadi workers to cover more below five age group children, pregnant and lactating women for supplementary food. Government must appoint health workers, professionals in city hospitals. There is need to expand the health infrastructure in city to tackle child malnutrition in slums. The time has come to modify economic growth in to the economic equity and government should take initiatives to provide the benefits of economic growth to the poor people. There is need to invest more resources in civic infrastructure. Otherwise many more children will continuously die due to malnutrition in city. A financial capital of country should not report many more children’s deaths due to malnutrition.
SANJAY RODE is Assistant professor, Department of Economics, S.K. Somaiya College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Mumbai. He teaches Development, International economics, Micro and Microeconomics, Public economics at Post-Graduate level. Research Areas of Interest: Maternal and Child Health, Applied Econometrics, Urban Poverty. Sanjay has written numerous papers and books including:
1 ‘The truth about hunger and diseases in Mumbai’ Economic and Political Weekly Vol. XXXVIII No.43 PP 4604-4610, October 25, 2003 - - with Neeraj Hatekar
2 ‘Malnutrition in Mumbai’ One India One People, September 2003 PP12-14.
3 ‘Determinants of RTIs/STIs prevalence among women in Haryana’ E-social sciences working papers/ Health Studies, December 2007.
4 ‘Institutional deliveries: A long perspective in Uttarkhand’ in IIPS edited book, population, environment and development of Uttarkhand.
5 ‘Double Burden of Malnutrition among Women in Maharashtra’ Submitted for publication to Esocialsciences.com
6 ‘Does demolition of slums affects on pre-school children’s health in Mumbai?’ Theoretical and Empirical Research in Urban Management, Number 1(10)/2009, PP 63-74.
7 ‘Safe and sustainable drinking water supply: Innovative policies lagging behind in India’
8 ‘Improving the welfare and productivity among the workers of small and household units in textile and garment sectors in India’, Economia. seria management , June 2009 issue
10 ‘Sustainable drinking water supply in Pune Metropolitan Region: Alternative policies’, Theoretical and Empirical Research in Urban Management, Special number 1 S/April 2009
11 "Drinking water supply management in Municipal corporations of Maharashtra" Global journal of Management and Business Research, Vol.10, issue 6 ver.1.0 August 2010, Page 5-19. )
12 Malnourishment among children in Mumbai City, LAP LAMBERT academic publishing, 19th July 2010