Karnataka has three main geographical zones - a coastal region, a hilly region along the Western Ghats and a region covering plains of the Deccan plateau. Due to an impressive economic growth rate over the past two decades Karnataka has invested in the areas of social development, including health and education.
However, the northern region of the state which has a significant population of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities, continue to lag on several human development indicators and reports high incidence of child labour, child marriage and child trafficking. The rapid urbanization of Bengaluru, Mysuru and other smaller cities attracts a large influx of adults and children from the northern region of the state and other states.
Approximately 20.9 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. The state is working towards a Nutrition policy as part of its Vision 2025 goals in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and World Health Assembly targets and is widening the nutrition supplementation net through near universal targeted schemes.
Karnataka is one of the few states that implements decentralization processes as per the 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution, empowering local institutions and communities to participate in development activities.
Few of the key indicators of the state are neonatal mortality rate is 19 per 1000 live births and high maternal mortality ratio of 133 per 100,000 live births (Source: Sample Registration System 2015). As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4, stunting of under-five children is 36 per cent and 26 per cent of children under the age of five years are wasted and 10.5 per cent of the children are severely wasted. The rural sanitation coverage in the state stands at 86 per cent (Swachh Bharat Mission MIS). The Annual Status of Education Report 2016 findings show that after 10 years, reading and arithmetic scores have improved in public-funded schools in the early grades. As per NFHS-4, 23.2 per cent women aged 20-24 years are married before the age of 18 years.