Major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) share common behavioral risk factors and deep-rooted social determinants. India needs to address its growing NCD burden through health promoting partnerships, policies, and programs. High-level political commitment, inter-sectoral coordination, and community mobilization are important in developing a successful, national, multi-sectoral program for the prevention and control of NCDs. The World Health Organization's "Action Plan for a Global Strategy for Prevention and Control of NCDs" calls for a comprehensive plan involving a whole-of-Government approach. Inter-sectoral coordination will need to start at the planning stage and continue to the implementation, evaluation of interventions, and enactment of public policies. An efficient multi-sectoral mechanism is also crucial at the stage of monitoring, evaluating enforcement of policies, and analyzing impact of multi-sectoral initiatives on reducing NCD burden in the country. This paper presents a critical appraisal of social determinants influencing NCDs, in the Indian context, and how multi-sectoral action can effectively address such challenges through mainstreaming health promotion into national health and development programs. India, with its wide socio-cultural, economic, and geographical diversities, poses several unique challenges in addressing NCDs. On the other hand, the jurisdiction States have over health, presents multiple opportunities to address health from the local perspective, while working on the national framework around multi-sectoral aspects of NCDs.
Keywords: Health promotion; mainstreaming; multi-sectoral partnerships; noncommunicable diseases; social determinants of NCDs.