The NITI Aayog on Tuesday released the National Nutrition Strategy aimed at bringing nutrition to the centrestage of the National Development Agenda.
The strategy lays down a road-map for effective action, among both implementers and practitioners, in achieving our nutrition objectives, the planning body said in a statement.
NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said the strategy was of great significance “considering one in three children in India are stunted”.
Eeleasing the strategy document, eminent agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, who was one of the architects of the Green Revolution, said it was important to have a nutrition strategy based on life-cycle approach that takes into account nutrition needs from birth to death.
He added that all three types of nutrition deficiencies — undernutrition, malnutrition and protein hunger — needed to be looked at in totality. He also called for linking of agriculture and nutrition.
“Agriculture provides answers to most of the nutrition problems… The challenge is how do you marry the two,” he said.
The NITI Aayog said that the nutrition strategy envisages a framework wherein the four proximate determinants of nutrition – uptake of health services, food, drinking water and sanitation and income and livelihoods – work together to accelerate decline of under nutrition in India.
It added that supply side challenges often overshadow the need to address behavioural change efforts to generate demand for nutrition services.
“This strategy, therefore, gives prominence to demand and community mobilisation as a key determinant to address India’s nutritional needs,” the NITI Aayog statement said.
It added that the nutritional strategy aims to ensure that states create customized state and district action plans to address local needs and challenges.
“This is especially relevant in view of enhanced resources available with the states, to prioritise focused interventions with a greater role for panchayats and urban local bodies.”
“The strategy enables states to make strategic choices, through decentralized planning and local innovation, with accountability for nutrition outcomes,” it added.