Report No. 259
Chapter - V
Health and Nutrition
5.1 Health and nutrition is the primary area of concern for the young child. For there to be any possibility of growth and of any kind of learning or psychosocial development, the basic requirement of access to healthcare and adequate nutrition needs to be fulfilled. The right to nutrition and healthcare in fact constitutes the most basic and foundational right of children. Millions of children die every year from preventable diseases and infections and lots are at risk of becoming malnourished.34
Due to inadequate nutrition especially in the critical period of 0-6 years, discrimination in food based schemes and restricted access to health facilities, many children are unable to realise their development potential in terms of both physical and intellectual growth. While the significance of health and nutrition for children and the problems and challenges involved on this front have found mention in numerous studies as well as in several government schemes, there are not enough specific legal entitlements created in favour of young children.
Absence of legally enforceable entitlements makes children especially under-sixes more vulnerable to neglect and discrimination. As discussed earlier the constitutional and international framework as well as the current global context make it essential for India to remove this weakness and vagueness by creating legally binding entitlements in favour of children especially those under-sixes.