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Failing on Food- Status of Malnutrition in Children and PM POSHAN Scheme

Failing on Food- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

Failing on Food- Status of Malnutrition in Children and PM POSHAN Scheme_3.1


PM POSHAN Scheme– Context

  • Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the extension of the PM POSHAN Scheme until 2025-26.
  • This extension comes at a critical time when real income declines and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the ability of families to ensure good nutrition.

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Status of Malnutrition in Children- Findings of the NFHS-5

  • National Family Health Survey-5 released its first phase report for 22 States and Union Territories in December 2020.
  • Key findings-
    • Childhood stunting rose in 13 States,
    • There was a high prevalence of anaemia among children and women, and
    • Wasting was a serious concern in 12 States.
  • The slippage over the previous survey period exposes the worsening scourge of malnutrition, threatening to deprive millions of children of fully productive adult life.

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PM POSHAN Scheme- Key Features

  • Centrally supported hot meal programs in Government and Government-aided schools, covering 11.8 crore children, will be supplemented with nutritional elements in identified aspirational districts and areas with high anaemia.
    • The scheme is proposed to be extended to pre-primary children.
  • The PM POSHAN Scheme provides for-
    • Social audit,
    • Creation of school nutritional gardens to source fresh produce,
    • Involvement of farmer-producer organizations as providers, and
    • Lays emphasis on local food traditions.

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PM POSHAN Scheme- Way Forward

  • Government should increase budgetary outlays and provide measurable standards for evaluating the outcome of the scheme.
    • While some child growth metrics such as stunting require a longer window to measure, problems such as anaemia and low weight lend themselves to speedy amelioration.
  • The Government must demonstrate that Saksham Anganwadi-Mission POSHAN 2.0 is fiscally stronger than its erstwhile component parts.
    • Saksham Anganwadi-Mission POSHAN 2.0- it amalgamates the POSHAN Abhiyan and schemes covering anganwadis, crèches and adolescent girls.
  • Nutritional planning: the renewed nutritional plan should introduce a greater diversity of diets that compensates for micronutrient and protein deficiency.

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  • Strong supplementation of nutrition at school, in the community, and at childcare centres, is important, especially when food inflation and pandemic-induced income declines have depressed essential consumption.


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