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Importance of National Nutrition Mission

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  • Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2022
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The Government of India began the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), also known as the Poshan Abhiyaan, in 2018 (although the program was begun in 2017), with the aim of addressing India’s malnutrition problem. The term ‘Poshan’ in the program’s name refers to the Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition. The National Nutrition Mission is India’s flagship program aimed at improving the nutritional status of adolescents, children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. It is supported by the NITI Aayog’s National Nutrition Strategy, which aims to achieve “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat,” or malnutrition-free India, by 2022. Stunting, undernutrition, anaemia (among young children, women, and adolescent girls), and low birth weight will be reduced by 2%, 2%, 3%, and 2% every year, respectively. In a mission mode, address the problem of malnutrition. 

Objectives of the National Nutrition Mission:

  • The mission’s main objective is to reduce undernutrition and enhance the nutritional status of children in the country. 
  • The mission is a multi-ministerial scheme with the goal of eliminating malnutrition in the country by 2022.
  • The National Nutrition Mission intends to reduce stunting from 38.4 percent to 25 percent by 2022, according to ‘Mission 25 by 2020.’
  • Another aspect of the mission is the gradual scaling up of interventions under the World Bank-supported Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems.

Specific Targets of the National Nutrition Mission:

The National Nutrition Mission intends to achieve the following:

  • Reduce stunting by 2% /year.
  • Reduce undernutrition by 2% /year.
  • Reduce anemia by 3% /year.
  • Reduce low birth weight by 2% /year. 

Features of the National Nutrition Mission:

  • A robust convergence technique.
  • Social audits
  • Developing Nutrition Resource Centers
  • Involving the masses through Jan Andolan in nutrition-related activities, among other things, and much more.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is responsible for the implementation of this scheme.
  • The NITI Aayog also plays an important role in the mission. The Vice Chairperson of NITI Aayog chairs the National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges, which was set up under the Poshan Abhiyaan. The National Council on Nutrition, or NCN, is another name for this council. 
  • The NCN provides policy suggestions and program reviews to address nutritional challenges. It is national nutrition coordination and convergence body. 
  • The budgetary support provided by the Centre is further divided as follows: 60:40 between the Centre and the States, 90:10 for the north-eastern area and the Himalayan States, and 100 percent for Union Territories (UTs) without legislature. 

Concerns of the National Nutrition Mission:

  • In terms of stunting, India’s targets are conservative when compared to the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) global target of a 5% prevalence rate of stunting, as opposed to India’s target of reducing stunting to 13.3 percent by 2022.
  • The target of reducing anemia prevalence levels among pregnant women from 50.3 percent in 2016 to 34.4 percent in 2022 and among adolescent girls from 52.9 percent in 2016 to 39.66 percent is also considered conservative when compared to the World Health Organization’s target of halving prevalence levels.
  • In the wake of the epidemic, experts warn that increased hunger and poverty may make it more difficult to accomplish the Mission’s goals. 

Challenges to the National Nutrition Mission:

  • Implementation: The policy’s intent is clear, but implementation may be challenging. Malnutrition is a complicated and multifaceted issue that requires a holistic solution.
  • Lack of coordination: Various ministries and departments involved in healthcare regularly work in isolation.
  • Under-utilization of funds: The initiative, like many other government programs, suffers from under-utilization of allotted funds (only 16 percent of authorized resources for 2018-19).
  • Lack of data: A lack of real-time data monitoring, sustainability, and accountability may have an impact on the National Nutrition Mission (NNM). As a result, monitoring and delivery systems must be strengthened.
  • Human Resources: NNM requires significant human resource input. Handling technology sensitively and sensibly may need a long time of hand-holding and capacity building in a low-and-middle-income country with challenges around power supply and literacy.

Covid-19’s Impact on Malnutrition:

  • Millions are being forced into poverty by Covid-19, which also lowers incomes for many more people and disproportionately affects the economically disadvantaged, who are also more at risk of malnutrition and food insecurity.
  • Additionally, pandemic-related lockdowns delayed crucial services including midday meals, immunizations, and micronutrient supplementation, which worsened malnutrition by interrupting supplementary feeding provided by Anganwadi centres.

National Nutrition Mission Achievements:

  • Three years into the mission, its flagship initiative has yet to meet its objectives. According to information provided by Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, the Centre distributed a total of 4,283 crores to various States and Union Territories. 
  • Despite the fact that funds were granted to 19 states in 2019-20, only 12 of them had used less than a third of the funds released in the previous two years. Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya were the top performers. Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand, and Assam were the worst performers. 

Way forward:

  • Focus on mothers: The first and most essential step in reducing malnutrition in India is to provide enough nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers. The child is then automatically at a lesser risk of malnutrition.
  • State action: States must provide a wide range of fundamental services and amenities, including social security, basic infrastructure, and access to healthcare and clean water.
  • Data Collection: Data should be collected properly. Motivating people to report and gather data ethically is also important. 

Frequently Asked Question and Answers:

Q1. When was the National Nutrition Mission launched? 

Ans. The Government of India began the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), also known as the Poshan Abhiyaan, in 2018 (although the program was begun in 2017), with the aim of addressing India’s malnutrition problem. The term ‘Poshan’ in the program’s name refers to the Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition.

Q2. What are the Features of the National Nutrition Mission? 

Ans.

  • A robust convergence technique.
  • Social audits
  • Developing Nutrition Resource Centers
  • Involving the masses through Jan Andolan in nutrition-related activities, among other things, and much more 

Q3. What is the Aim of the National Nutrition Mission? 

Ans.  The National Nutrition Mission is India’s flagship program aimed at improving the nutritional status of adolescents, children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. It is supported by the NITI Aayog’s National Nutrition Strategy, which aims to achieve “Kuposhan Mukt Bharat,” or malnutrition-free India, by 2022. Stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women, and adolescent girls), and low birth weight will be reduced by 2%, 2%, 3%, and 2% every year, respectively. In a mission mode, address the problem of malnutrition. 

Q4. Give the Specific Targets of the National Nutrition Mission.

Ans. The National Nutrition Mission intends to achieve the following:

  • Reduce stunting by 2% /year.
  • Reduce undernutrition by 2% /year.
  • Reduce anemia by 3% /year.
  • Reduce low birth weight by 2% /year. 

Q5. Give the Achievements of the National Nutrition Mission.

Ans. Three years into the mission, its flagship initiative has yet to meet its objectives. According to information provided by Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, the Centre distributed a total of 4,283 crores to various States and Union Territories. Despite the fact that funds were granted to 19 states in 2019-20, only 12 of them had used less than a third of the funds released in the previous two years. Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya were the top performers. Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand, and Assam were the worst performers. 

 


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