Mobilising markets in the fight against malnutrition

This year marks one hundred years since the death of Sir Ratanji Tata, who was an enormously influential figure in the story of Tata Trusts, one of India’s oldest philanthropic organizations. Ratanji was the son of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata and followed in his father’s footsteps by devoting his career to issues of welfare and public utility. During the last six years of his life, he worked with the London School of Economics and conducted research on poverty alleviation.

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Rajan Sankar for an edition of Sight and Life magazine. Sankar is the Program Director for Nutrition at Tata Trusts. He spoke to us about his research into iodine deficiency in Mumbai which shed light on a health issue that had gone unnoticed before. It led to the establishment of a thyroid research center and the subsequent elimination of iodine deficiency in the local area. He shared his thoughts on how to improve the wellbeing of the less advantaged sections of society.

For Sankar, “companies can only be really successful if society as a whole is healthy, and much more could and should be done in this area. We’ve come a long way in the past ten years, with growing urbanization and more and more women in the workforce, and the private sector plays an increasingly important part in our lives. It is markets that must help to solve the problem of malnutrition− markets that deliver affordable food with improved nutritional content for the poorest and more vulnerable sections of society.”

(Steffen, J. A Day in the Life of Rajan Sankar, Sight and Life, Volume 31, 2017, p.105). The full interview can be read here.

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