About the scheme
- POSHAN Abhiyaan (also known as National Nutrition Mission) is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development that aims to improve nutrition amongst children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
- Launched in 2018, it is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
- The mission targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
- The mission also strives to achieve a reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
- Amongst India’s most serious yet marginally addressed development challenges is malnutrition, which contributes significantly to the country’s disease burden.
- Even as National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4) data shows that the country’s malnutrition rates have gone down, half of all children from families in the lowest income quintile are still stunted (51 percent) or underweight (49 percent).
- Today, India is home to the largest number of stunted children (46.6 million) and wasted children (25.5 million) in the world. More than a third of children under five suffer from stunting and wasting and 40% of children between one and four are anaemic.
- According to the NFHS-4, over 50% of pregnant and non-pregnant women were found to be anaemic.
Why in News?
- NITI Aayog has released its third progress report on the Poshan Abhiyaan.
Highlights of the Report
- The report warns that Poshan Abhiyaan must be stepped up in order to meet the targets set by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting, and anaemia by 2022, with only a little over a year left to reach its goals.
- 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.
- It also recommends improved water, sanitation, hand washing with soap and hygienic disposal of children’s stools as other interventions which could help avert a quarter of the stunting cases.
- It notes that the government must implement interventions beyond the health sector and its focus on distribution of Iron/Folic Acid (IFA) tablets, and must include efforts to improve socio-economic conditions, else India will achieve modest improvements in anaemia among women of reproductive age.
- Significantly, the review report was drafted in March and does not factor worsening poverty and hunger levels over the past seven months, which is expected to dent strides made since 2018 to achieve nutritional targets.