Nutritional Security Current Affairs
The Union Cabinet approves setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with three year budget of 9046.17 crore rupees commencing from 2017-18.
The NNM, as an apex body under Ministry of Women and Child Development will monitor, supervise, fix targets and guide nutrition related interventions across the Ministries. It will monitor various schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition.
There are number of schemes directly and indirectly affecting nutritional status of children (0-6 years age) and pregnant women and lactating mothers. Inspite of these, level of malnutrition and related problems in country is high. There are number of schemes but there is lack in creating synergy and linking between schemes to achieve common goal. NNM through robust convergence mechanism and other components will strive to create synergy.
Function of NNM
Introducing a very robust convergence mechanism including ICT based Real Time Monitoring system. It will incentivize states/UTs for meeting the targets. It will also incentivize Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools. It will eliminate registers used by AWWs.
It will introduce measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs). It will aid to conduct Social Audits. It will set-up Nutrition Resource Centres, involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities, among others.
Implementation strategy and targets
It will be rolled out in three phases from 2017-18 to 2019-20. It will set targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia among young children, women and adolescent girls and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
Its implementation strategy will be based on intense monitoring and Convergence Action Plan right upto grass root level. Though NMM has set target to reduce stunting is atleast 2% per annum, but it will strive to achieve reduction in stunting to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022) from 38.4% (NFHS-4).
NMM through set targets will strive to reduce level of anemi, stunting, under-nutrition and low birth weight babies. It will also create synergy, issue alerts for timely action, ensure better monitoring, and encourage States/UTs to perform, supervise Ministries and States/UTs to achieve targeted goals.
Coverage and Beneficiaries
All States and districts will be covered in phased manner i.e. 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and remaining districts in 2019-20. More than 10 crore people will be benefitted by this programme.
NNM has been set with total amount of Rs. 9046.17 crore that will be expended for three years commencing from 2017-18. It will be funded by Government Budgetary Support (50%) and 50% by International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD aka World Bank) or other MDB. Government budgetary support would be 60:40 between Centre and States/UTs, 90:10 for Northeast region and Himalayan States and 100% for UTs without legislature. Total Union Government share over period of three years would be Rs. 2849.54 crore.
India has sent proposal to the United Nations (UN) for declaring the year 2018 as ‘International Year of Millets’. If the proposal is agreed, it will raise awareness about millets among consumers, policy makers, industry and Research and Development (R&D) sector.
Promotion of production and consumption of millets at global level will contribute substantially in fight against targeted hunger and mitigate effect of climate change in long run. Popularizing millets will benefit future generations of farmers as well as consumers.
It has multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, biofuels and brewing. Therefore, millets are smart food and good for consumers, farmers and planet.
Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed nutri-cereals or dryland-cereals. It includes sorghum, ragi, pearl millet, small millet, proso millet, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and other millets. They are adapted to harsh environment of the semi-arid tropics and require low or no purchased inputs, thus they are backbone for dry land agriculture.
Nutritional Superiority: Millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fibre and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous. It provides nutritional security and act as shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
Health Benefits: Anaemia (iron deficiency), pellagra (niacin deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency can be effectively tackled with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich food grains like millets. It can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free and also have low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
Income and livelihood Source: Millets are important staple cereal crop for millions of small holder dryland farmers across Asia and sub-saharan Africa and. They offer nutrition, resilience, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times. They have multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing. Thus, millets are Smart Food as they are Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet.
Resilient of Climate Change: Millets are photo-insensitive and resilient to climate change. They are hardy, resilient crops that have low carbon and water footprint. They can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs. In times of climate change they are often last crop standing and thus are good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers.