National Nutrition Mission
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TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;
The cabinet has approved the National Nutrition Mission with a three year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18, to provide lifeline to large number of malnourished children in India. Malnourishment is one of the gravest problems in India where the proportion of malnourished children in India is even higher than sub-Saharan countries of Africa.
In India, the nutrition problem is in the younger age group from 0-6 years’ group, adolescent girls and lactating mothers. The aim is to try to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition problem, anemia problem and low birth weight problem in these groups. This has to be reduced by atleast 2-3% per annum.
For this, the National Nutrition Mission has been introduced. The major highlight of the mission is that this will have an apex body which will monitor, supervise and fix the target and guide the nutrition related intervention across all the ministries. At present, many ministries are taking care of this problem- Women and Child ministry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Sanitation. Now the idea is to coordinate the activity of all the ministries and various ongoing schemes.
The proposal consists of
- mapping of various Schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition
- introducing a very robust convergence mechanism
- ICT based Real Time Monitoring system
- incentivizing States/UTs for meeting the targets- There will be competition between different states to achieve the targets faster.
- incentivizing Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools- Also involve anganwadi workers as they implement the scheme. They should also be incentivized when they fulfill the target.
- 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.
A change from the past
- Main thrust is on use of ICT tools to monitor the real time basis implementation of the programme. Now there will be synergy of schemes, achievements of targets and real time monitoring by using the IT tools.
- Till now it was operated through manual registers with anganwadi workers. Now they will use smart phones, laptops and computers to register the data. The idea is to coordinate and monitor the schemes on IT basis and supervise in real time and compile reports. The move will be a deviation from the old practice of maintaining registers and will also help to reduce pilferage.
- Social audit of impact of all these schemes on the masses. Except for MGNREGA, no other scheme has social audit. The government has brought in transparency, accountability through social audit. When there will be constant monitoring, there will be compliances to the standards as well as work done.
- Involving the masses through the jan andolan is the idea. Creating IEC materials like posters, videos, doing street plays etc. will involve the public as well as create environment for awareness.
How is it different from other schemes?
Earlier, there were many schemes but they were not synergized. Now the government has decided to synergize them and goal is to benefit 10 crore people. Initially 315 districts where problem of malnutrition is very high have been identified and catered till 2018, in 2019, 235 districts will be targeted and in 2020, remaining 90 districts will be covered.
For this, the government has a dedicated budget of 9046 crore for which, 50% will be contributed by government (60:40 between Centre and States/UTs, 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% for UTs without legislature) and 50% by World Bank.
Impact of malnutrition
The under nutritious child has many weaknesses which may result into high infant mortality. They have stunted growth which leads to repeated infection and lead to poor child performance at the school level, economic burden at the family level as well as total national productivity.
Food and medicines is provided through anganwadi workers and ASHA workers but it is a challenge to maintain the quality of it though. For this, the government has involved the sector specific NGOs and other organizations and industries to produce low cost and high quality drugs and involved them in further distribution.
For school going children there is mid-day scheme where the child should get minimum 300 calorie per day. Another medium to tackle malnourishment is distribution of iron tablets, distribution of Vitamin A and Vitamin D capsule, doing medical examination of those groups, calorie deficiency and giving best possible care. These are different mechanism by which these groups can be helped.
Soon, every child will have Aadhar linkage so that benefit goes to the targeted child only and it is monitored.
Money will continue for ICDS and other schemes will also continue. There is no dearth of schemes but lack of creating synergy and linking the schemes with each other to achieve common goal. NNM through robust convergence mechanism and other components would strive to create the synergy.
ICDS- Integrated Child Development Scheme is one of the oldest schemes of Government of India dealing with issue of malnutrition. Other schemes are propagated for lactating mothers and adolescent girls. They are going on for long period of time and hence there has been improvement in the cases of reduction of malnourishment and stunted children. However, the pace has not been high.
Also read- National Nutrition Strategy which provides a deep look through India’s nutritional status and measures to fight against low nutritional levels.
Connecting the dots:
- What is national nutrition mission and how can the aim of Kuposhan Mukt Bharat be achieved? Comment.