POSHAN Abhiyaan: Relevance
- GS 2: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
POSHAN Abhiyaan: Context
- According to the data released by Ministry of Women and Child Development, funds released under the POSHAN Abhiyan Programme stand severely under-utilised.
POSHAN Abhiyaan: Key points
- The data revealed that out of the total fund allocated for POSHAN Abhiyan, around 50% were not utilised.
- Out of the 36 states and UTs for which the ministry has released data, no state or UT has completely used its funds for POSHAN Abhiyan.
- The Ministry has also informed that in 2020-21, funds released for POSHAN programme were cut by 85 percent compared to the amount released in the previous financial year.
POSHAN Abhiyaan: Underutilization of funds
- In 2020-21, all anganwadis, women and child development centres that serve as primary locations for implementation of POSHAN Abhiyan, were closed because of the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
- As the beneficiaries could not come these centres, angawandi workers were asked to distribute supplementary nutrition material at their doorsteps.
- Actual fund utilisation under POSHAN Abhiyaan has itself been at just about 56 percent since the scheme was launched in 2018.
- A parliamentary standing committee examining the demand for grants of the women and child development ministry has also flagged the “gross underutilisation” of funds allocated to POSHAN Abhiyan.
POSHAN Abhiyaan: Recommendations of the committee
- The committee has recommended that the ministry should utilise the funds allocated under various heads to the fullest extent and strive to achieve results at the grass-root level.
- It has also said that the outlook of the ministry needs to change from outlays to outcomes and the ministry should be able to spend, execute and give measurable outcome-driven results, in the upcoming Financial Year.
POSHAN Abhiyaan: Present status
- The target under the government’s POSHAN Abhiyan was to reduce stunting by two percentage points per annum. Even the pace of reduction seen in NFHS5 has slowed down compared to NFHS 3 and NFHS4.
- The target under POSHAN Abhiyan was for India to become free of malnutrition by 2022. The latest health data and spending anomalies indicate this is unlikely to be achieved.