NITI Aayog report suggests accelerated actions on multiple fronts to meet targets
National Nutrition Mission
- POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India, which ensures convergence with various programmes i.e., Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) of MWCD Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM), Swachh-Bharat Mission, Public Distribution System (PDS), Department Food & Public Distribution, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.
- The goals of NNM are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18.
- The National Nutrition Mission (NNM) has been set up with a three year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18. The NNM is a comprehensive approach towards raising nutrition level in the country on a war footing. It will comprise mapping of various Schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition, including a very robust convergence mechanism, ICT based Real Time Monitoring system, incentivizing States/UTs for meeting the targets, incentivizing Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools, eliminating registers used by AWWs, introducing measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs), Social Audits, setting-up Nutrition Resource Centres, involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities, among others
Recently a report by Niti Aayog suggests that The National Nutrition Mission, must be stepped up to meet the targets set by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting and anaemia by 2022.
The review report drafted in March does not factor worsening poverty and hunger levels over the past seven months due to COVID-19, which is expected to dent strides made since 2018 to achieve nutritional targets.
- The government’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers was launched in 2018 with specific targets to be achieved by 2022.
- It aims to reduce stunting and wasting by 2% a year (total 6% until 2022) among children and anaemia by 3% a year (total 9%) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers. More than a third of the children under five face stunting and wasting and 40% aged between one and four are anaemic. Over 50% of pregnant and other women were found to be anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey 4 released in 2016.
- Niti Aayog says that it is needed to quickly graduate to a POSHAN-plus strategy which apart from continued strengthening the four pillars of the Abhiyaan also requires renewed focus on other social determinants in addition to addressing the governance challenges of NHM/ICDS delivery mechanisms.
- The report calls for a need to lay as much emphasis on complementary feeding as it does on breastfeeding, which it points out can help avert 60% of the total stunting cases in India.
- On stunting, the review says that India’s targets are conservative as compared to the global target defined by the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is a prevalence rate of 5% of stunting as opposed to India’s goal of reducing stunting levels to 13.3% by 2022.
- The target of reducing prevalence levels of anaemia among pregnant women from 50.3% in 2016 to 34.4% in 2022 and among adolescent girls from 52.9% in 2016 to 39.66%, is also considered conservative.
- Significantly, the report was prepared before COVID-19 spread rapidly across the country, but was released only last month.
- Experts warn that deepening poverty and hunger may delay achieving the goals defined under the Nutrition Mission.