Poshan Maah 2020: ‘Proper Nutrition Is Vital To Build A Prosperous Nation,’ Says Prime Minister Narendra Modi#PoshanMaah2020: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says ‘Proper nutrition is vital to build a prosperous nation’

New Delhi: “Proper nutrition is vital to build a prosperous nation. #POSHANMaah2020 starts today. Let us undertake efforts to reach out to people across the length and breadth of India and spread awareness on eradicating malnutrition. This will help our Nari Shakti and Yuva Shakti,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi today on his social media as he urged citizens to observe September as Poshan Maah or Nutrition Month and strengthen country’s efforts to build a healthy nation.

PM Modi also noted that India is known for many healthy dishes and asked people to come forward and share these nutritious recipes with everyone so each one of us can be benefitted. Sharing a platform where citizens can share these recipes, PM Modi further said,

Let’s be #Local4Poshan! Our nation is home to dozens of healthy dishes, which have high nutrition value. Share them on a specially created space. Let your family recipe contribute to a nutritious as well as healthy India.  #POSHANMaah2020.

Along with the tweets, PM Modi also shared a short clip of his last month’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio broadcast in which he had spoken about the importance of nutrition in people’s development. In the clip, PM Modi talks about September being observed as Poshan Maah and said, “We have a maxim – ‘Yatha Annam Tatha Mannam’ which means our mental and intellectual development is directly related to the quality of our food intake. There is a need to increase awareness of Nutrition. The schools must introduce ‘nutrition monitor’ like the class monitor to raise awareness.”

The Prime Minister also said that a nutritious meal is not only important for children, but also for pregnant women. He said,

Healthcare experts say that better the nutrition for the child in the womb and during childhood, the better will be their mental development and they will stay healthy. To ensure nutrition for children, the mother must also get complete nourishment. Proper nutrition is important.

View Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Tweet 

Home Minister Amit Shah also took to his social media to talk about the importance of nutrition for India and government’s flagship initiative Poshan Abhiyan. He said,

Adequate nutrition for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers has always been the priority of PM @NarendraModi. Launched in 2018, Poshan Abhiyaan is a robust scheme which has been playing an unprecedented role in eliminating malnutrition from the country. #POSHANMaah2020. This year the government will focus on an intensive campaign across the country for the holistic nourishment of children with severe acute malnutrition. To further strengthen this scheme, let us all take a pledge and contribute towards a malnutrition-free India.

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu also joined the initiative and lent his support to the cause. On his social media, he said,

Give our children a healthy start through adequate nutrition. Let us build a strong, healthy and nutritious India. Let us rediscover the essential goodness of local delicacies. Create a recipe for the success of the Poshan Abhiyan. There are so many of them in each of our states. We should heighten nutritional awareness and work together to end malnutrition. Let us initiate passionate action for a Poshan-focused nation. Let us go.

Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani also took to twitter to talk about Poshan Maah 2020, taking PM Modi’s appeal forward, wherein he has urged people to share nutritious recipes, Ms Irani said,

In order to form a database of indigenous food items with high nutrition value, the WCD Ministry seeks support of people of India. Contribute towards Bharatiya Poshan Krish Kosh by sharing traditional recipes of your family and region. We have a diverse range of indigenous ingredients which not only add flavour to the food but also cater to the daily intake of micronutrients required for a healthy mind and body. Each region, family of India has a legacy of its own when it comes to food.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi  Adityanath added urging people of his state for full participation said,

To realize the concept of a healthier and more capable India, #POSHANMaah2020 was conceptualised by respected PM Narendra Modi. It is an important program, I urge every citizen of UP to ensure their participation and help create a healthy state.

Also Read: Gujarat NGO Helps Distressed Families Grow Kitchen Gardens During COVID-19 Pandemic To Improve Their Nutritional Well-Being

Sharing a short video message, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said,

On this #POSHANMaah2020 let us all contribute to the vision of Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji in creating a strong, fit and malnutrition-free India. Share the recipes of your favourite traditional food or of your family and be #Local4Poshan.

Also Read: Food Systems: Innocent Victim Or Inadvertent Instigator Of Pandemics?

Apart from these ministers, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman  also took to social media to talk about government’s flagship programme Poshan Abhiyan, she added,

In 2018, @PMOIndia launched the #PoshanAbhiyaan to eliminate malnutrition in children and lactating mothers. September is dedicated as #PoshanMaah. We mark #POSHANMaah2020 also with an emphasis on #local4Poshan. Local grains/greens/veggies/milk in home made recipes.

Under the Poshan Abhiyaan, the government HAS set goals to reduce child under-nutrition (stunting and underweight) and low birth weight by 2 per cent a year, and anaemia across age groups by 3 per cent, and create a mass movement for good nutrition in the country. The target of the Abhiyan is to achieve a malnutrition-free India by 2022.

Also Read: Most Anaemic Women Are Not Aware That They Are Dealing With Anaemia: Lovneet Batra, Clinical Nutritionist

Impact Of COVID On Nutrition In India

India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk, pulses, and ranks as the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruits and cotton, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Despite the abundance of food, 14 per cent of the population is undernourished, according to ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2020’ report. The report also states 189.2 million people are undernourished in India and  34.7 per cent of the children aged under five in India are stunted (too short for their age). It further reports that 20 per cent on of India’s children under the age of 5, suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height. Malnutrition in children is a mammoth health issue the country is facing right now and COVID-19 outbreak is likely to further worsen the situation. Over the past few months, the Government of India amid coronavirus crisis under PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana introduced the scheme which ensured that under the existing Targeted Public Distribution System scheme,  5 kg of rice or wheat, per person, per month  alongwith, 1 kg of pulses per household, per month would be provided free of cost. Initially the scheme was for 3 months till June, which was later extended till November by the Prime Minister. The scheme also facilitates at home delivery of food to vulnerable populations – all free of cost.

Also Read: National Nutrition Week 2020: How These Initiatives Are Helping India Eat Nutritious Food Amid Coronavirus Crisis

On the other hand, according to the recent surveys done to understand the impact on livelihood amid coronavirus lockdown, the on-ground reality doesn’t seem to be very positive. According to Centre For Science And Environment, a survey of around 5000 respondents across 12 states of India to study the impact of COVID-19 pandemic containment measures (lockdown) on employment, livelihoods, food security and access to relief measures, found that there has been a massive increase in unemployment, an equally dramatic fall in earnings among informal workers, large increases in food insecurity, depletion of savings and patchy coverage of relief measures. The survey found that almost eighty percent or 8 in 10 people are now eating less food than before.

A recent phone survey done for 115 households across Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh also showed a similar trend. According to the survey done by students and volunteers about the impact of the lockdown and the government support they had received, about 68 per cent households are skipping their meals as their income has fallen since lockdown.

Also Read: Poshan Maah: Focus On Identifying Acutely Malnourished Children, Planting Nutri Gardens, Says Government To States

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 (WaterSanitation 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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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