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Status of child development in India

Phalasha Nagpal ()
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Phalasha Nagpal: Oxford Policy Management

Journal of Social and Economic Development, 2021, vol. 23, issue 1, No 2, 24-43

Abstract: Abstract Child development is critical to human development and a prerequisite to a country's long-term socio-economic progress. Its gains are particularly more pronounced for a country like India, which is among the youngest countries in the world and largely relies on its labour force as a key growth input. As per the Child Development Index (CDI), India ranked 100th out of 141 countries in 2005–2010. However, these rankings mask considerable disparities and inequalities in child development existing within India. This paper computes the CDI values for and ranks major Indian states to facilitate a state-wise comparative analysis using the Save the Children, U.K. methodology employing secondary data from National Family Health Survey and Unified-District Information on School Education for 2005–2006 and 2015–2016. We observe considerable variations in the performance of different states across the three domains of health, education and nutrition. Between the two review periods, the most substantial progress has been achieved in improving health outcomes in terms of a reduction in under-five mortality. Meanwhile, non-net enrolment rates and the proportion of underweight children have improved at a relatively modest rate. The study shows that nutritional outcomes tend to be the most critical factor impeding childhood development in India. Overall, the CDI values have declined from 2005–2006 to 2015–2016 for all states (except in the cases of Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh) indicating that on average, child well-being in India has improved. In conclusion, there is a need for evidence-based state-specific interventions to enhance child development in India.

Keywords: Child development; Education; Nutrition; Health; Child mortality; Child development index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s40847-020-00114-0

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