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POSHAN Maah 2021: ‘Establish Nutrition Gardens To Fight Malnutrition,’ Union Minister Smriti Irani Urges Districts

In order to ensure community mobilisation and bolster people’s participation in tackling malnutrition in the country, every year, September month is celebrated as POSHAN Maah

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POSHAN Maah 2021: ‘Establish Nutrition Gardens To Fight Malnutrition,’ Union Minister Smriti Irani Urges Districts
Highlights
  • Nutrition gardens can help in combating malnutrition: Minister Smriti Irani
  • The month of September is observed as ‘POSHAN Maah’
  • 12.84 lakh plantation drives happened during Poshan Maah 2020: Ms Irani

New Delhi: As the country begins activities for the POSHAN Maah (Nutrition Month), which is observed every year throughout the month of September, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani said that nutrient-rich plants are a key to combating the issue of malnutrition in the country. Kick-starting the Poshan Maah on Wednesday (September 1), Ms Irani stressed that the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda also prescribes nutrient-rich plants or a nutritious diet.

Also Read: Poshan Maah 2021: All You Need To Know

To address malnutrition among children, protect the children who are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and encourage consumption of a variety of vegetables and fruits among families in rural areas, Ms Irani urged the aspirational districts (districts in India that are affected by poor socio-economic indicators), to make a commitment to establish a Poshan Vatika (nutrition garden) during the ongoing nutrition month. She said,

Many have done tremendous work in identifying Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children, but only identifying is not enough. They need protection. And only our society can help in that. The number of such children in the country was earlier 80 lakh, which has now come down to 10 lakh. It reflects the honesty of working towards this issue. However, now the states can tell us about the exact number of such children, and how it has been reduced.

According to experts, a nutrition garden, which is a garden or the area at home where vegetables, fruits or herbs are grown for domestic use, is a useful tool to make vulnerable families self-reliant in terms of food and nutrition security.

Ms Irani said that considering the importance of nutrition gardens, the first week of Poshan Maah will be dedicated to augmenting plantation activities in convergence with other ministries including that of Ayush, Education, Agriculture and Rural Development. During the other three weeks, the activities of the government will be planned around the following themes- yoga and AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) for nutrition; awareness and focus on locally available nutritious food; and drive for identification of SAM.

Apart from planting nutrition gardens, Ms Irani also stressed on building awareness about the importance of early breastfeeding, the need for good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, and measures to reduce anaemia in young women and children. She said that the economy of the country suffered a slowdown in the year 2018 because of malnutrition and to tackle this, the government launched POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan. This year, the Central government had announced Mission POSHAN 2.0 during the Union Budget 2021-22 to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, outcomes.

Also Read: COVID-19 Has Caused One Of The Biggest Increases In World Hunger, Malnutrition In Decades: United Nations

Ms Irani took to the microblogging site Twitter to explain the aim of the POSHAN Maah and said,

Under the leadership of PM, the Government of India launched POSHAN Abhiyan in March 2018 to combat malnutrition. Since then, the month of September is observed as ‘POSHAN Maah’ with a view to carrying out special dedicated activities ushering in behavioural change in the society.

She further said that the Poshan Maah in 2019 saw 3.66 crore activities being conducted across India while 2020 witnessed the commencement of massive plantation drive and developing Nutri-garden across Anganwadis and public spaces. She said 12.84 lakh plantation drives were carried out during the Poshan Maah in 2020.

Also Read: US Study Finds COVID-19 Patients With Malnutrition At A Higher Risk Of Death

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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