In A First To Tackle Malnutrition Odisha Introduces A Separate Nutrition BudgetIn a first, Odisha government introduces a paperless green budget with a main focus on nutrition and health of its children, here are the highlights of #OdishaBudget2020

New Delhi: The Odisha Budget for the financial year 2020-21 presented by Niranjan Pujari, state’s Finance Minister, has many firsts. It was coined as a green budget as for the first time in the history of the Odisha Assembly, a finance minister read out the budget speech from an iPad and presented the Odisha budget 2020 in a pen drive to chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik shared details of the initiative on his social media and said,

Committed to building a green and sustainable future, #Odisha has saved around 1000 big trees by switching over to paperless budgeting in 2020-21 fiscal. Digital methods reduced printing of at least 75 lakh pages, ultimately saving hundreds of trees.

Also Read: Swasth Report Card: Can One Of India’s Backward States – Odisha Set A Successful Example In Reducing Malnutrition?

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Apart from being a green budget, Odisha became one of the first states in India to present a separate Nutrition Budget document aimed at improving the nutrition level in children and the overall health of the state. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the state has allocated Rs 5,543 crore allocation for nutrition-specific schemes whereas in 2018-19 it was Rs 3,999.08 crore and Rs 25,571 crore has been provisioned for nutrition-sensitive schemes compared to Rs 13,879.96 crore in 2018-19. In the budget speech Finance Minister Pujari highlighted the importance of the one-of-its-kind nutrition budget in the state and said,

The State Government has undertaken strategic measures to combat malnutrition through adequate provisions in the Nutrition Budget, which as a tool. Via this nutrition budget, state hopes in achieving key Sustainable Development Goals such as reduction of hunger and improvement in nutrition outcomes.

Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik sharing details of the schemes and budget allocation on his social media added, “Nutrition budget will help focus on vulnerable people and improve nutrition outcomes.”

Mainstreaming children in the development process, the Odisha Budget 2020 increased outlay for child-specific schemes to Rs 23,665.76 crore, moreover increasing per child expenditure from Rs 13,111 in 2019 to Rs 16,294.

Giving thumbs up to Odisha Government for presenting one-of-a-kind budget, experts on social media shared their views.

‘Nutrition Man’, Basanta Kumar Kar, who has also been awarded the Nutrition Leadership Award 2019 said,

Odisha becomes a pioneer with this Nutrition Budget.

Arabinda K Padhee, Country Director, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, said,

Government of Odisha’s Budget 2020 has special attention on #Climate and #Nutrition. This is indeed a unique initiative. Governance and policy priorities are extremely important to bring desired outcomes. Focus should now be on implementation. Kudos!

Also Read: Swasth India: Mamata Scheme For Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups Women In Odisha Extended For Five Years

Radhika Srivastava, Advocacy, Communications and Partnership Specialist, UNICEF India added, “A big leap forward in the fight against malnutrition. This is the first ever nutrition budget in India. #InvestInNutrtion”

Achyuta Samanta, Founder of Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology said, “The Odisha Budget 2020 is truly a remarkable step forward in making our state stronger and more prosperous. I welcome all the initiatives by the Government, especially those to do with nutrition.”

Also Read: Odisha Government Approves Rs. 466 Crore For ‘Khushi’ Scheme To Provide Free Sanitary Pads

In Numbers: Odisha’s Nutrition Status

According to the National Family Health Survey 4 report, the Under 5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) (per 1,000 live births) in Odisha has reduced from 91 (2005-06) to 48 (2015-16). Moreover, for the first time the state has improved it’s health and nutrition indicators vis-à-vis national figures, with infant mortality rate of 40 (against national average of 41); child mortality rate at 48 (against national average of 50); severely underweight at 34.4 (against national average of 35.7); stunting at 34.1 (against national average of 38.4) for the year 2016-16.

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