- Odisha is the only state to present a separate budget for Nutrition
- Nutrition serves as an essential factor to growth and development: Experts
- The Nutrition Budget aims to address undernutrition, hunger: State Official
New Delhi: The state of Odisha is the only state in the country that presents a separate Nutrition Budget document. With an aim to improve nutrition level in children, women and improve the overall health of the state, Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari presented the first Odisha Nutrition Budget on February 20, 2020. Taking the initiatives forward, Mr. Pujari released the second Odisha Nutrition Budget document on February 22 for the Financial Year 2021-22. According to a senior official in the state’s Department of Finance, a review of department-wise nutrition allocations was conducted, on the basis of which an overall budget for nutrition was developed. The officer said that the Department of Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti and Finance Department are central and nodal agencies in steering the Nutrition Budget in the State.
Sharing details of the schemes and budget allocation on social media, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said,
Odisha carried forward the pioneering initiative of Nutrition Budget through allocation for nutrition specific schemes and nutrition sensitive schemes. The multi-sectoral approach helps in improving nutrition outcomes among vulnerable.
#Odisha carried forward the pioneering initiative of #NutritionBudget through allocation for nutrition specific schemes and nutrition sensitive schemes. The multi-sectoral approach helps in improving nutrition outcomes among vulnerable. #PeoplesBudgetOdisha pic.twitter.com/FGbPH1697p
— CMO Odisha (@CMO_Odisha) February 22, 2021
The state has developed its Nutrition Budget based on budgets under two types of interventions: ‘nutrition-specific’ and ‘nutrition-sensitive’ interventions. The ‘nutrition-specific’ interventions include those schemes and programmes that have direct impacts on nutrition like Supplementary Nutrition Programme, Mamata scheme and ‘nutrition-sensitive’ interventions are those that have indirect impacts like Swachh Bharat Mission. While 16 schemes have been categorised as Nutrition Specific, 101 schemes have been categorised as Nutrition-Sensitive by the Government of Odisha.
According to the Department of Finance, nutrition expenditure has increased by 26.32 per cent from Rs. 26,132.6 crore in 2020-21 RE to Rs. 33,012.18 crore in 2021-22 BE.
The Nutrition Budget document shows that for 2021-22 (BE) the money allocated to nutrition-specific is Rs. 5,121.14 crore and the outlay for nutrition-sensitive is Rs. 27,891.04 crore.
Allocations Under Major Nutrition-Specific Schemes
The highest amount has been provisioned under the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) programmes which has been renamed by the Central Government as Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0 in Budget 2021-22. This covers Anganwadi services, POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, and National Creche Scheme. The budget for this head has increased by almost 27 per cent from Rs. 2,245.68 crore in 2020-21 to Rs. 2,844.44 crore in 2021-22.
A provision of Rs. 279 crore has been made under the Maternity Benefit Programme ‘Mamata’ which has increased by almost 74 crore from Rs. 205 crore in 2020-21 RE. Mamata scheme aims to provide partial wage compensation for pregnant and nursing mothers so that they are able to rest adequately during their pregnancy and after delivery.
The budget allocation for a key Nutrition-Specific scheme ‘Public Distribution System’ has reduced substantially by almost 55 per cent from Rs. 2096.16 in 2020-21 RE to Rs. 951.44 in 2021-22 BE. Explaining the reduction, an official at the Department of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare said,
The allocation for PDS was increased by additional Rs. 900 crore due to the relief measures undertaken during COVID-19 induced lockdown which not only included distribution of extra grains but also cash transfer of Rs. 1000 each to the migrant workers. In the upcoming year, PDS is expected to run normally and so this year the budget has been allocated accordingly.
Allocations under the Mid Day Meals programme has also reduced from Rs. 1,158 crore in 2020-21 RE to Rs. 957 crore in 2021-22 BE. According to Gangadhar Sahoo, State Nodal Officer, Mid Day Meals, Department of School and Mass Education, Odisha, the reduction in the allocation for MDM can be attributed to the decrease in the number of children enrolled in government schools over the past year. He said that almost 90,000 – 1 lakh children in the state have shifted from government schools to private schools.
Allocations Under Major Nutrition-Sensitive Schemes
The allocations for Swachh Bharat Mission, both Gramin and Urban have been increased. In the Budget Estimate of 2021-22, the provision made for SBM-Gramin has been doubled from Rs. 100 crore last year to Rs. 200 crore. SBM-Urban has also received an extra allocation of Rs. 80 crore and has increased from Rs. 135 crore in 2020-21 to Rs, 215 crore in 2020-21.
The budget for the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has reduced by almost Rs. 300 crore from Rs. 2,020 crore in RE 2020-21 to Rs. 1,720.4 crore in BE 2021-22. Explaining about this reduction in allocation, Malaya Kumar Panigrahi, State Finance Officer, National Health Mission, said,
The allocation under the BE 2021-22 is a tentative proposal from the state and the final allocation will depend on the amount approved by the central government based on the State’s Programme Implementation Plan. If you look at BE 2020-21 foe NRHM, you’ll the provision made was for only Rs. 1,617.2 crore but it increased to over Rs. 2,020 crore in Revised Estimates of the same year. Similarly, the amount allocated for 2021-22 may also see an increase which will be reflected in the Supplementary Budget and Revised Budget.
The provision for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), a scheme for the development of agriculture has increased by 54 per cent from Rs. 292 crore to Rs. 450 crore.
Giving a thumbs up to the State’s Nutrition Budget, Basanta Kumar Nayak, Associate Director, Governance, Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre (OBAC), a non-government research organisation based in Bhubaneswar said,
The fight against malnutrition depends on several factors and the Nutrition Budget document presented by Odisha government tries to bring those factors together.
According to Ms. Mohanty, the impact of Odisha’s focus on nutrition would translate into better health outcomes for its people in the coming years. She, however, highlighted that there is a need to ensure equity in resource allocation across different districts and nutrition deficit hotspots like tribal regions.
Commenting on the Nutrition Budget 2021-22, Basanta Kumar Kar, International Development Professional in Nutrition, in India said,
The budget is likely to address protein hunger, calorie inadequacy and micronutrient deficiency in the people of Odisha. It is good to know that Odisha has recognised the COVID-19 pandemic as an eye-opener. The pandemic has realised the power of good nutrition to prevent and address infections. However, I would like to point out that with ambitious investment, I think, it is the time for Government of Odisha to work on localised efforts and work for district-level Nutritional Self Sufficiency in production and access to nutritious food.
Status Of Malnutrition In Odisha
According to the National Family Health Survey 4 (NFHS 4) report, the Under 5 Mortality Rate per 1,000 live births in Odisha had reduced from 91 in 2005-06 to 48 in 2015-16. There had Seen a dip of 20.6 per cent in the level of anaemia in children in the age group 6 months – 5 years to 44.6 per cent in 2015-16 from 65 per cent in 2005-06 reported by NFHS 3. The status of stunting (low-height-for-age) in children of Odisha had reduced from 45 per cent NFHS-3 to 34.1 per cent in NFHS-4 and is currently lower than the national average of 35 per cent. The share of underweight (low-weight-for-age) children had decreased from 40.7 per cent in NFHS-3 to 34.4 per cent in NFHS-4 which is also better than the national average of 35.7 per cent. However, there has been a slight increase in wasting (low-weight-for-height) in children from 19.6 per cent in NFHS-3 to 20.4 per cent in NFHS-4, yet it is still below the national average of 21 per cent.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.