Government Schemes to Fight Malnutrition

The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition especially among children and women including young girls and is implementing several schemes/programmes through State Governments/UT Administrations. The schemes/programmes include the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) namely SABLA,  Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY) as direct targeted interventions. Besides, indirect multi-sectoral interventions include Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), National Horticulture Mission, National Food Security Mission, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, National Rural Drinking Water Programme etc.  All these schemes have potential to address one or other aspect of Nutrition.

The main schemes/programmes of Ministry of Women and Child Development  which have a bearing on the nutritional status includes the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme which provides a package of six services namely supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, nutrition & health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services.  ICDS Scheme has since been universalised with effect from 2008-09.  The  total number of sanctioned Projects are 7076 and Anganwadi centres (including Mini AWCs and Anganwadi on demand) are 13.71 lakhs.  Against  this there are 7025 operational projects and 13.31 lakh  operational AWCs as on January 2013. The services are currently availed by 927.65 lakh beneficiaries which include 746.81 lakh children (6 months to 6 years) and 180.84 lakh pregnant and lactating mothers.

Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG), or Sabla provides a package of services including health and nutrition to adolescent girls in the age 11- 18 years (with a focus on  out-of-school adolescent girls) in 205 districts on a pilot basis. The scheme has two major components i.e. Nutrition and Non Nutrition Component.  The beneficiaries in 2011-12 were 100.77 lakhs and during 2012-13 are 88.49 lakhs so far.

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Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), introduced in 2010, is a Conditional Cash Transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating (P&L) women to contribute to better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers.  The scheme is being implemented initially on pilot basis in 53 selected districts. The beneficiaries in 2011-12 were 3.05 lakhs and during 2012-13 are 3.76 lakhs so far.

The Mid day Meal scheme by Department of School Education and Literacy has a provision for providing hot cooked mid day meal to children studying in class I to VIII in Government, Government aided, local body schools as well as children studying in the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) schools, Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS), Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) centres and Madarsas and Maqtabs supported under SSA etc.   It is a world’s largest school feeding programme and covers more than 11 crore children in 12.63 lakh institutions in the country. 

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and under its umbrella, the Reproductive and Child Health Programme, seeks to improve the availability of and access to quality health care including Maternal and Child Health services particularly to rural population throughout the country. Some of the key steps undertaken through this programme  are Promotion of institutional deliveries through Janani Suraksha Yojana ; Capacity building of health care providers in basic and comprehensive obstetric care;    Name Based Tracking of Pregnant Women;  Antenatal, Intranatal and Postnatal care including Iron and Folic Acid supplementation to pregnant & lactating women for prevention and treatment of anaemia; Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) ( launched on 1st June, 2011)  which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery including Caesarean section ; Village Health and Nutrition Days in rural areas as an outreach activity, for provision of maternal and child health services;  Operationalisation of sub-centers, Primary Health Centers, Community Health Centres and District Hospitals for providing 24×7 basic and comprehensive obstetric care services. So far, 8.8 lakh Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHAs) have been engaged to interface with the community, more than 5 lakh village health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs) have been established, 2024 mobile medical units have been provided in 459 districts for delivery of health care.

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Recently Government has approved the strengthening and restructuring of ICDS with special focus on pregnant and lactating mothers and children under three. The restructured and strengthened ICDS will be rolled out in three phases with focus on the 200 high burden districts for malnutrition during 2012-13 and additional 200 districts in 2013-14  including districts from the special category States and NER and the remaining districts in 2014-15. 

Additionally, Government has launched an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Campaign against malnutrition for generating awareness on key nutrition issues with the pro-bono services of Shri Aamir Khan.

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