Fighting Undernutrition through Government Meal Programmes

Fighting Undernutrition through Government Meal Programmes

News: An inter-ministerial committee has recommended that protein-rich food items e.g., Eggs be legally mandated in meals given through food safety programmes in schools and anganwadis under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

Need:
• The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have ‘aggravated the silent crisis’ of undernutrition in India.
• National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) has documented a rise in the ‘rates of child undernutrition, stunting and wasting in most of the states’, along with an increase in the prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women and those of reproductive age
• Currently, states bear the cost of supplementary provisions. For example, eggs are served in mid-day meals in 13 states and three UTs as part of ‘additional food items’.

Inter-ministerial committee’s suggestions:
• It recommended including protein-rich food items like eggs, nuts and legumes, as well as micronutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, folate and vitamin A be legally mandated in meals.
• The report states that those who do not consume eggs may be provided ‘double the proposed quantity o nuts and seeds’.
• The report calls for inclusion of ‘micro-nutrients’ under the National Food Security Act, 2013. At present, it quantifies nutrition per meal in terms of calories and protein only.
You may refer the following link to know more about features of NFSA, 2013 -
https://dfpd.gov.in/nfsa.htm#:~:text=Salient%20features%20of%20the%20National,kg%20per%20person%20per%20month.

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