In a bid to have a coordinated effort to combat India's poor record on nutrition, the government now plans to have a National Nutrition Mission to be headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The mission would frame specific policies for children, women and elderly suffering from malnourishment.
Indian with 46 per cent malnourished children, is among the most malnourished country in the world, only second to Bangladesh. A World Bank report had estimates that India could lose about 2.5 billion US dollars in productivity every year because of malnourishment.
India's malnourishment rate has consistently remained on the higher side even though it has fallen among poor nations of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Faced with a grim picture, the government has now realised that singular effort of different ministries will not work and, therefore, a coordinated effort at national and state level was required.
In a proposal submitted to Prime Minister's Office last week, the Women and Child Development ministry has suggested that ministers of all ministries dealing with nutrition and sanitation should be members of the mission.
It includes, HRD ministry, Rural Development Ministry, Social Justice Ministry, Information and Broadcasting ministry, Food Ministry and the Planning Commission.
“Unless there is an coordinated effort from all bringing down the malnutrition rate would be close to impossible,” a senior WCD ministry official said.
The WCD ministry will act as a secretariat for the mission and will coordinate between different ministries to frame a national policy on nutrition.