The ministry of Women and Child Development in India have announced that they are lobbing to have maternity leave extended from 12 weeks to 24 weeks. India has one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world. Forty-six percent of children under five are underweight and 48 per cent are stunted, according to the latest government figures from 2005/6. By extending maternity leave the ministry is hopeful that more women would be encourage to breastfeed helping to reduce the high rates of child malnutrition in the county. There is the additional hope that the extension will also encourage women to return to work, helping to close the gender gap that exists in the India labour market.