Government schemes play a pivotal role in the UPSC examination, particularly in the segments related to polity and governance. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the details of the Poshan Abhiyaan program initiated by the Government of India, offering insights valuable for UPSC aspirants.
Poshan Abhiyaan 2023
Poshan Abhiyaan, also known as the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), was launched in 2018 (although the program was initiated in 2017) by the Government of India to address the pressing issue of malnutrition in the country. This initiative has gained prominence in the realm of government schemes, and understanding its key facets is crucial for UPSC aspirants.
Mission with a Holistic Vision
The primary objective of the Poshan Abhiyaan is to combat under-nutrition and elevate the nutritional status of children across India. This multi-ministerial initiative seeks to eradicate malnutrition from the country by the year 2022. It serves as India’s flagship program aimed at enhancing the nutritional outcomes of adolescents, children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. One of its distinctive features is the integration of technology and collaboration between various government departments.
Unlocking the Meaning of ‘Poshan’
The term ‘Poshan’ within the program’s name stands for ‘Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition.’ This nomenclature reflects the comprehensive approach undertaken by the government to address the multifaceted issue of malnutrition.
Precise Targets for Progress
The Poshan Abhiyaan has set specific targets to reduce stunting, anaemia, under-nutrition, and low birth weight. According to ‘Mission 25 by 2020,’ the National Nutrition Mission aspires to decrease stunting from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022.
Extensive Coverage and Convergence
The mission encompasses the mapping of various other schemes related to malnutrition and fosters synergies through an ICT-based real-time monitoring system. It encourages robust convergence between these schemes, incentivizes states and union territories to achieve set targets, optimizes the functioning of Anganwadi centers, and conducts social audits. Notable schemes integrated into the Poshan Abhiyaan include the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, PDS, and National Health Mission.
Empowering Anganwadi Centers
For Anganwadi centers, the mission introduces several reforms, including providing incentives to Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for utilizing IT-based tools, eliminating the use of registers, and implementing height measurement for children.
Scaling up ICDS Systems
Another significant component of the mission involves the gradual scaling up of interventions under the World Bank-assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems.
Key Implementing Agencies
The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, is the primary implementing agency for the Poshan Abhiyaan. Additionally, NITI Aayog plays a pivotal role, with the Vice-Chairperson of NITI Aayog serving as the Chairperson of the National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges (NCN), also known as the National Council on Nutrition. The NCN provides policy directions to address nutritional challenges and reviews relevant programs. It serves as a national-level coordination and convergence body focused on nutrition.
Specific Targets of NNM
The National Nutrition Mission is designed to achieve concrete targets, including an annual reduction of 2% in stunting, 2% in under-nutrition, 3% in anaemia, and 2% in low birth weight.
Challenges Amidst Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated issues related to malnutrition, pushing millions into poverty and disrupting essential services, such as supplementary feeding under Anganwadi centers, mid-day meals, immunization, and micronutrient supplementation.
Rashtriya Poshan Maah
Under the Poshan Abhiyaan, the month of September is celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month). During this period, various activities are organized to raise awareness about nutrition within communities, emphasizing Social Behavioral Change and Communication (SBCC).
In conclusion, the Poshan Abhiyaan, with its holistic approach and specific targets, stands as a vital government initiative aimed at addressing the critical issue of malnutrition in India. Its comprehensive strategy, convergence of schemes, and focus on technology integration make it an important topic for UPSC aspirants to grasp as part of their preparation. Understanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of nutrition further enhances the relevance of this program in the current socio-economic scenario.
Expert Editorial Comment
The article provides a comprehensive overview of the Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) and its significance in the context of the UPSC examination. This government initiative indeed plays a pivotal role in understanding the dynamics of governance and social welfare policies in India. Here are some key points to consider:
- Multi-dimensional Approach: Poshan Abhiyaan’s holistic approach in addressing various aspects of malnutrition, including stunting, anaemia, and low birth weight, is commendable. It reflects a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted nature of the issue.
- Integration and Collaboration: The program’s emphasis on integration and collaboration between different government departments is a noteworthy feature. In the context of the UPSC exam, this reflects the importance of intergovernmental coordination in policy implementation.
- Technology Integration: The use of technology for real-time monitoring and incentivizing Anganwadi Workers is a testament to the government’s efforts to modernize and streamline service delivery. This showcases the role of technology in improving governance, a topic often examined in the UPSC syllabus.
- Impact on Current Events: The article rightly highlights the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on nutrition-related programs. This demonstrates the relevance of current affairs and their integration into policy analysis for UPSC aspirants.
- Rashtriya Poshan Maah: The mention of Rashtriya Poshan Maah underscores the importance of behavioral change and communication strategies in public health campaigns. This is an area of interest for UPSC aspirants as it pertains to social awareness and mobilization.
- Key Implementing Agencies: The role of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and NITI Aayog in the implementation and coordination of Poshan Abhiyaan is crucial. Understanding the roles of these agencies is vital for aspirants in the context of governance and administration.
- Concrete Targets: The specific targets set by the program provide a measurable framework for evaluating its success. UPSC candidates should pay attention to such quantifiable aspects in policy analysis.
In conclusion, this article offers a well-rounded understanding of the Poshan Abhiyaan, which is undoubtedly a relevant topic for UPSC aspirants. It reflects the government’s commitment to addressing malnutrition through a comprehensive and technologically advanced approach. Aspirants should not only grasp the program’s details but also consider its implications on public health, governance, and social welfare policies in India. Additionally, the mention of the impact of COVID-19 underscores the need for adaptability and resilience in policymaking, which are valuable lessons for future civil servants.