Budget focus on nutritional needs

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Bhubaneswar: The announcement of a dedicated budgetary allocation to harmonize nutritional needs of the population is likely to pave way for better identification, monitoring and action, opined experts, Saturday.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition-related programmes for fiscal 2020-21. The government had earlier launched ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ in 2017-18 with a view to improving nutritional status of children (0-6 years), adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

More than six lakh Anganwadi workers were equipped with smart phones to upload the nutritional status of over 10 crore households in the country including Odisha. Experts claim the dedicated corpus for the mission is likely to give an impetus to the growth story of the population and make it healthier.

“Special budgetary allocation for improving the nutritional status in the country is certainly a welcome move. It is likely to pave way for better identification of malnourished kids and population from Odisha and monitoring their progress under the POSHAN Mission. This will help policy-makers take corrective measures in the future in this direction,” said Sourav Bhattacharjee, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Odisha.

He also added that the state has been performing well under the mission. “Monitoring of nutritional status in the state among the kids, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating population has helped make the state healthier. With reduction in child marriages, the threat of stunted kids born from minor girls will also reduce. Early child marriage is one of the major causes of childhood stunting,” he added.

“Lack of important nutrients at the development phases of a child can lead to several ailments and make them prone to disease, reduce their immunity and hamper with their neurological developments. With special attention on the nutritional issues, we can expect a healthier rural India,” said Dr Pooja Sah, a physician.

According to the National Family Health Survery (NFHS-4), 34% of children under the age of five are stunted, or too short for their age, which suggests that they have been undernourished for some time. Twenty per cent are wasted, or too weak for their height, which may result from inadequate food intake or a recent illness causing weight loss.

 

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