India cannot afford to have generations of stunted children Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday, urging states to prioritise regular monitoring with efficient distribution of supplementary nutrition.
States must identify people who could be benefited by the ‘Poshan Abhiyan’, said Gandhi while chairing the second meeting of the National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges.
“India can’t afford to have generations of stunted children. States should prioritise identification of beneficiaries, regular monitoring & efficient distribution of supplementary nutrition,” Gandhi said at the meeting.
The ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ is a programme launched by the government to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers and to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight in children.
Those present in the meeting included Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.
Parents should join food inspection for the success of the mission to fight malnutrition, Paswan said.
“Anganwadi workers at the frontline should be adequately compensated and parents should join food inspections,” he said.
“More needs to be done to ensure the ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’ reaches beneficiaries and nutrition becomes a ‘Jan Andolan’ with programme convergence, public buy-in and inter-ministerial cooperation,” Kumar said.
Kumar launched guidelines for making the nutrition movement into a ‘Jan Andolan’, along with modules for yoga and a caller-tune ringtone for ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’.
“We are taking the ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’ to the masses through block-level public events, social media campaigns, involvement of panchayats and recognising children as drivers of change,” said NITI Aayog Member V K Paul, on how nutrition is becoming a public movement.
The ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ aims to bring down stunting of the children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022.
The project will additionally ensure convergence of all nutrition-related schemes and provide performance-based incentives to states and community nutrition and health workers, facilitating a focus on results.
(With inputs from agencies)