New Delhi: Citing the World Bank Global Nutrition Report – 2018 which says that malnutrition costs India at least USD 10 billion annually in terms of lost productivity, illness and death and is seriously retarding human development, the Women and Child Development (WCD) minister, Zubin Irani said, “Humane solution has to be developed to tackle the menace of malnutrition in India.”
While chairing 5th National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges here, Smriti Irani discussed several challenges faced and the measures taken to develop POSHAN Abhiyaan, India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating mothers by leveraging technology, targeted approach and convergence.
At the council, Irani said, “Humane solution has to be developed to tackle the menace of malnutrition in India and for this, the economic benefits of investing in nutrition have to be highlighted and propagated.”
“POSHAN is an exercise for life for all citizens and should not be limited to women and children,” she added.
She further added, “Ministry along with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Deendayal Research Institute is developing a POSHAN atlas to map the crops and food grains grown in different regions of the country because the solution to tackling malnutrition lies in promoting regional cropping patterns and embracing local foods that are rich in protein.”
During the meeting, presentations were also made by the Ministry of WCD, NITI Aayog and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding the implementation of the POSHAN Abhiyaan by the states.
In the meeting, “Ministry placed before the Council the report of the POSHAN Maah observed in September 2019. During the month-long POSHAN Abhiyaan, 22 lakh programmes were held and 3.66 crore activities were organised in different parts of the country. Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Day (VHSND) programmes were also organised in 7.86 lakh places,” said in a statement.
“Irani thanked Prime Minister for taking up the subject of POSHAN during Maan ki Baat on 25th August 2019 which had a countrywide impact. She also thanked all State Governments and District Administration for making the POSHAN Maah a success,” the statement added.
The fifth National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges was attended by Secretary WCD, Rabindra Panwar, Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Swati Singh, WCD Minister, Uttar Pradesh, Mamta Bhupesh, Minister of WCD, Rajasthan and other senior officials of various ministries and the organisations.
The National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges is mandated to provide policy directions to address India’s nutritional challenges through coordinated intersectoral action and to review convergence between Ministries and programmes for nutrition on a quarterly basis.