Sonia Gandhi headed National Advisory Council (NAC) is working on a new framework to improve India’s nutritional standards, which may include national nutrition authority to stipulate policies for the government.
The NAC has constituted a working group under Miraj Chattarjee and A K Shivakumar to suggest a new framework for reforming Integrated Child Development Scheme and it held first discussions with civil society members this week.
Around 46% of Indian children are malnourished — higher than the children in sub-saharan Africa, and around half of the world’s malnourished children live in eight poorest states.
“There was consensus that India needs a specialised authority to deal with the issue of malnutrition,” said a civil society member, who participated at the meeting of working group held this week.
The authority would be an over-arching body under the Prime Minister’s Office to give directions to different Central ministries on nutritional issues. It will have experts from the government and private sector unlike the Food and Nutrition Board of India.
As of now, the issue of nutrition is dealt by different ministries, including HRD, women and child development, food & agriculture and the Plan
“There is no uniformity and lot of duplication,” a senior Plan panel official said. The panel is working on new nutrition policy for India aimed at reducing the malnutrition rate to half by end of the 12th five year plan ending in 2017.
For this, the panel wants to have a dedicated workforce at the ground level to educate pregnant mothers.