As per Registrar General of India (RGI), in the year 2009, the estimated number of total deaths in children 0-4 years is about 15.85 lakhs. The Minister of States for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath stated in Rajya Sabha that Malnutrition is not a direct cause of death but contributes to increased morbidity and mortality by reducing resistance to infections. Data on the number of deaths due to malnutrition in the country is not maintained centrally.
The Minister further informed the House that according to the UNICEF Report, ‘The State of the World’s Children 2011’, the Under Five Mortality Rate in some of the developed countries is USA (8), Canada(6), Australia(5), China (19), Japan(3). The Under Five Mortality Rate in India as per the RGI is 64 (2009).
Smt. Tirath revealed that as per the survey on ‘Causes of Death – 2001-03 in India’ by Registrar General of India, nutritional deficiencies are responsible for only 2.8% death of children aged 0-4 years and 1.8% in the age group 5-14 years. Some of the major causes of death of children below 4 years are perinatal conditions (33%), respiratory infections (22%), diarrheal diseases (14%), other infections and parasitic diseases (11%), accounting for 80% of the deaths in this age group.