POSHAN 2.0 and tackling malnutrition in India

POSHAN 2.0:- The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the burden of malnutrition, especially among the foremost vulnerable and economically disadvantaged families. The pandemic and therefore the ensuing lockdown have put nearly 115 million children in peril of malnutrition as incomes, food consumption and essential services all come struggling.

Thus, to unravel India’s nutrition crisis, an evidence-based, integrated, and outcome-focused approach is urgently required.

What is malnutrition?

  • Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances during a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition addresses three broad groups of conditions:
    • Under-nutrition: This includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age);
    • Micronutrient-related malnutrition: This includes micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals) or micronutrient excess; and
    • Overweight, obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart condition, stroke, diabetes, and a few cancers).

POSHAN & POSHAN 2.0 scheme

About POSHAN & POSHAN 2.0 scheme

POSHAN scheme – Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment

  • The government of India had launched the POSHAN Abhiyaan in 2018 to make sure a Malnutrition Free India by 2022.
  • The scheme, by the Ministry of girls and Child Development, aims to scale back stunting, undernutrition, anemia, and reduced low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3%, and a couple of once a year respectively.

To improve nutritional outcome- POSHAN 2.0 announced in 2021 Budget.

New guidelines of POSHAN 2.0

  • POSHAN scheme focuses on the 1,000 days between a mother’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday.
  • Prioritizing women and girls, and addressing their nutritional deficiencies through fortification and provision of take-home rations.
  • The introduction of community-based programmes for tackling severe acute malnutrition.
  • The guidelines now place accountability at the district level with nutrition indicators included within the KPIs (key performance indicators) of DN/DC.
  • POSHAN tracker- The Ministry of girls and Child Development has developed a replacement software tool called the Poshan Tracker. The aim is to streamline the availability side of the scheme. this may replace the sooner ICDS CAS, because the info generated by it had been not usable.

Advantages of POSHAN Tracker

  • It will provide a holistic view of distribution and access of nutrition services by Anganwadi centres and AWWs (Anganwadi workers) to eligible groups.
  • The software will ensure real-time updates, enhance transparency and enabling the system to spot last-mile beneficiaries.
  • The tracker carries a module that permits AWWs to spot and supply support to orphaned children [due Covid-19].

Over 2.94 million take-home rations and 1.35 crore hot cooked meals delivered and tracked using the tracker so far.

What else must be done to deal with malnutrition?

Convergent actions, especially agriculture-nutrition convergence and strengthening of demand-side behaviour, can play a pivotal role in helping India tackle malnutrition.

  • Agriculture-nutrition convergence means creating agricultural policies which are supported a nutrition-sensitive approach. For e.g.: incentivizing the assembly of millets in a neighborhood that’s rain-deficient results not only in nutritional well-being but also promotes sustainable agriculture.
  • Empower women farmers – the bulk of India’s smallholder plots are worked upon by women farmers. Government should invest in nutrition-sensitive agricultural programs. this will help women and their communities live healthier and more prosperous lives.

Conclusion

The under-nutrition problem in India can be addressed through scientific innovation, traditional knowledge systems, community participation, digital technologies, and data-driven management.

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