Mission Poshan 2.0: Budget 2021 Leaves India Wanting More To be Done On Malnutrition

The budget proposed Mission Poshan 2.0 to improve the nutritional status of the nation but with reduced funds.

The Budget 2021-22 has announced to launch the new Mission Poshan 2.0 national nutrition program to improve the country’s nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcome.

The budget, however also shows that the budget estimate on nutrition dropped from Rs 3,700 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 2,700 crore in 2021-22.
In an attempt to minimize stunting in children aged between zero and six years to 25 percentfrom 38.4 percent by 2022, the Poshan Abhiyan was implemented in 2017-18.
Similarly, as part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in 2009, the ministry launched the Supplementary Nutrition Program (SNP). Children (from six months to six years) and pregnant and lactating mothers are targeted under this program.

The current SNP and Poshan Abhiyan will now be combined in order to formulate the new Poshan 2.0 umbrella program to be more effective in combating malnutrition.

The outlay on major budgetary schemes indicates that for the year 2021-22, the Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 have a budgetary estimate of Rs 20,105 crore.

These two include those created by the merger of the ICDS-Anganwadi Services Umbrella, Poshan Abhiyan, Teenage Girls Scheme and National Creche Scheme. Since several systems have been integrated, it is hard to see how much the funds have decreased.

Mission Poshan 2.0 To Improve The Nutritional Status But With Reduced Funds  

Union Finance Minister said in Lok Sabha, “We will combine the Supplementary Nutrition Programme and the Poshan Abhiyaan and launch the Poshan 2.0 project to improve nutritional content, distribution, outreach, and outcomes. An enhanced strategy to enhance nutritional outcomes across 112 aspirational districts will be adopted.”

The Ministry of Finance has allocated Rs 24,435 crore for fiscal 2021-22 to the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD). Of this, Rs 20,105 crore has been earmarked for the ‘Saksham Anganwari and Poshan2.0’ new national nutrition program.

In most of the 22 states and union territories covered in 2019-2020, this comes days after the findings of the fifth round of the national family health survey (NFHS-5) red-flagged the issue of malnutrition and the prevalence of anaemia.

The survey data showed that, in most of the 22 states and union territories, the prevalence of anaemia among women and children has worsened since 2015-16.

In the report, the percentage of stunting has increased by as many as 13 states, including some of the populous ones such as Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Kerala. The percentage of waste in many states has also been shown by NHFS results. An increase in the number of underweight children under five years has been shown in as many as 16 states and union territories.

The ICDS – Anganwadi Facilities, Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme for Teenage Girls and National Creche Scheme will be comprised of the current Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0 with the merger of SNP and Poshan Abhiyan.

Here are some reactions from some health experts-

Seema Chishti, Renowned Journalist tweeted, ‘Health Budget 2021-22: Where is the ‘Unprecedented’ Hike in Allocation? The allocation for nutrition even saw a decrease of 27%. Hence, the claim of an increase of 137% is wrong.’

Save the Children India tweeted that “While #Budget2021 has addresses health & nutrition components for children, it’s still far from enough to #ProtectAGeneration. Only a balanced, child-focussed Budget can pave the way for overall well-being of children to herald a hopeful economic future for them & the country.”

“The decision to increase allocation to healthcare is a big relief for players like us. Poshan Abhiyan is another good announcement made today as a lot of underprivileged people in India suffer from malnutrition and more efforts to provide good health and nutrition services will help the community,” said Dr. Vidya V Bhat, Laparoscopic Surgeon & Fertility Specialist, Medical Director, Radhakrishna .Multispeciality Hospital and IVF Center, Bengaluru.

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