Malnutrition, a daily reality for most children on the planet's second most populous country
The spiralling inflation has forced homemakers to tweak their budgets, slashing consumption of nutrient-rich food by almost 40 percent, a survey by an industry chamber said here Sunday.

The survey, which was conducted in October-November, revealed that the maximum impact was felt in major cities led by Delhi-NCR and followed by Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Chandigarh.

The Assocham survey claimed that nearly 72 percent of lower middle-class families covered by the survey said they have been forced to squeeze their budgets for fruits, vegetables and milk because of consistently high retail prices. The survey was conducted on 2,000 housewives and 1,000 working people.

"The price rise of essential commodities and expenses on other necessities like education, transport and health have stayed higher than the pace at which earnings have increased, making life difficult for the poor, lower income and even middle class families," Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said.

More than 62 percent of salaried families who were surveyed said they shell out between Rs.4,000 to 6,000 on vegetables and fruits itself, while it was one-fourth of this five years ago.

India's headline inflation based on wholesale prices jumped to seven percent in October, the highest in eight months, due to higher prices of fuel, food and manufactured goods, government data revealed.