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Report warns of India malnutrition crisis

This is the India that has been left behind by the country's recent economic growth. The economy doubled between 1990 and 2005 to become Asia's third largest, but the fruits of this success are nowhere to be seen in this New Delhi slum. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) DELHI SLUM RESIDENT, ARPANA SEN: "Children chronically suffer from stomach related disease and fever - with so much filth around it is only natural. There is no arrangement for sewage so all the pollution and filth keeps coming into our houses from the open drains." Now new statistics are showing the scale of this abject poverty. A report published by Save the Children says that a shocking 48 percent of children in India are stunted due to malnutrition. A government-supported survey last month said that 42 percent of children under five were underweight - double that of sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics have forced India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to describe the situation as a "national shame." Save the Children's Chief Executive said action must be taken to address the crisis. (SOUNBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL, JASMINE WHITBREAD: "There are so many children affected by this, literally millions of children, both losing their lives but then also those that do survive end up stunted, not only physically but developmentally which has a huge impact on those children's lives." India does have a number of schemes already running to battle malnutrition, and the government is now introducing a multi-billion dollar food subsidy program. Despite this, experts say India is unlikely to meet its Millennium Development goals of reducing child malnutrition by half the 1990 levels in time for the 2015 deadline. Simon Hanna, Reuters.

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