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Malnourishment, market and land reforms.......

The aim of this entry is not to point a finger of accusation at anyone or a vain repitation of known facts. I was quite surprised at the enormity of malnourishment that are present among Indian children. The following are some of the facts I got from UNICEF:
* 46 per cent of India's children are malnourished. It is more easy to find malnutrition in India than in Sub-saharan Africa
* One out of three malnourished children in the world lives in India
* It is lowest in Kerala (27 per cent) and highest in Madhya Pradesh (55 per cent)
* Causes of Malnourishment- food intake, access to healthcare and proper hygiene.

I am of the belief that the best way to take people out of poverty is through market. However, one need to consider reasons why malnourishment is lowest in Kerala. I believe education and land reforms have a big role. Both are brought about by state intervention. The history of India in the first 40 years was to re-distrubute the income with no incentives to increase the income. I think if policy makers can redistribute assets through effective land reforms, it can play a major role in rejuvenating the rural economy and bring people out of rigid social structure (at present, a minority owns land and a majority are landless labourers). At present, I am reading some literature which I will share later. They all point to positive effects of land reforms.

A friend of mine shared that corporate India would be an active supporter of land reforms. His reason is that when you redistribute the assets to people with high marginal propensity to consume (that is, the amount of money spent on consumption out of incremental income), rural economy could provide an engine of growth.

To conclude, I think if the state effects land reforms, the market could be an effective solution to malnourishment and rural poverty.


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