World Bank approves USD 106 mn credit for improving nutrition

World Bank approves USD 106 mn credit for improving nutrition

The World Bank today approved a USD 106 million (about Rs 583 crore) credit to the government of India to improve the nutritional outcomes for children less than six years of age.

This represents the first part of a two-phase loan for ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP), World Bank said in a statement.

"The first phase of the project will be implemented over a three-year period, to be followed, upon the successful achievement of its results, by a four-year second phase," it said.

Policy and institutional reforms as well as innovative pilots and programs will be tested in eight high-burden states, with a special focus on 162 high malnutrition-burden districts in these states, it said.

"Today, India has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. One-third of the children are born with low birth-weight, 43 per cent of children under five are underweight, 48 per cent are stunted, 20 per cent are wasted, 70 per cent are anemic, and 57 per cent are vitamin A deficient," it said.

While malnutrition is not restricted to the poor in India, there are significant regional disparities in nutritional indicators with 60 per cent of the burden of malnutrition found in the low-income states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

The project will be financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA)– the World Bank's concessionary lending arm – which provides interest-free loans with 25 years to maturity and a grace period of five years.