India is known to have one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the entire world. In fact, according to government statistics from 2005, 46 percent of children under age 5 are underweight and 48 percent are stunted. In an effort to provide support to new mothers, India is considering extending maternity leave from the current 12 weeks to 24 weeks. “The proposal, if approved, would give working women in all sectors — public, private and even the informal sector such as domestic workers — some kind of protection” said an official from the ministry of women and child development. Though this change would help mothers care for their infants, it would not address the problems children will face as they group up in India; such problems include a huge lack of protein, vitamins and minerals. However, experts hope it may encourage women to breastfeed their children, a change which could save children all over the country.
Contributor: Phoebe Roe