Updated: September 1, 2021 2:46:20 am
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on Tuesday said that along with the shared responsibility for the economic future of the country, a well-nurtured India must also be a shared responsibility.
Calling upon a “united committment” to eradicate malnutrition from the country, Irani urged states to take up the Nutrition Month, starting from September 1, to create a mass movement with public co-operation.
Irani, who inaugurated Poshan 2.0, a national conference, held at the Statue of Unity Tent City in Kevadia on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the “empowerment of women in all fields”.
Addressing around 150 participants from various states and Union territories, Irani added that according to a 2010 World Bank report, India suffered an economic loss of Rs 24,000 crore due to lack of toilets. According to the study of the year 2018, the GDP suffered a decline of four per cent due to malnutrition.
“Since 2018, even in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, a mass movement is going on against malnutrition by carrying out about 16 crore activities with public cooperation… All aspiring districts of the country should be committed to establish nutrition forests during the Nutrition month (Poshan Mass), with special attention to the Severe Acture Malnourished (SAM) children. The number of such children in the country was earlier 80 lakh, which has now come down to 10 lakh.”
Among the topics discussed was the need to identify and manage Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) areas with programmes such as nutrition garden planting. The ministry will also organise awareness programmes to emphasise the importance of early breastfeeding, the need for good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, and measures to reduce anaemia in young women and children.
In coordination with every department, infrastructural facilities would be set up along with construction of Anganwadis, Irani said adding that out of 14 lakh Anganwadis in the country, 9 lakh have been provided with growth-monitoring devices, while in the rest, mobile phones will be provided during the Nutrition Month.
The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development will encourage the creation of nutrition gardens in the country under an initiative, “Women and Child Empowerment Forests”, to “accelerate” nutrition needs in the states. Irani planted saplings at the Women and Child Empowe-rment Forest that will come up in Kevadia as a “model of nutrition”.
Minister of State for AYUSH and WCD Dr Mahendra Munjpara, Gujarat WCD Minister Ganpatsinh Vasava and Gujarat Minister of State Vibhavari Dave also planted saplings at the garden where the Forest Department has decided to plant 151 nutrition trees.
Priyanka Kanungo, chairperson of the Women and Child Rights Protection Commission, also planted saplings along with Narmada Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) PJ Pandya, who said that the forest would have trees such as drumstick, Butea monosperma — known as ‘Kesudo’ in Gujarati and popularly called the flame of the forest, guava, custard apple, mango and mimusops hexandra (rayna).
Irani, who also visited the Statue of Unity to pay homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, along with WCD officials of the Gujarat government, wrote in the visitor’s book, “The vision of a strong, sensitive and vibrant nation would be fulfilled when every citizen of the country would be inspired to follow Sardar Saheb. The Statue of Unity is not just a monument, it is the inspiration for the path of citizenship for the youngest democracy in the world. My heartfelt salute to Sardar Saheb.” The minister also visited the Children’s Nutrition Park and the Radio Unity 90 FM studio at Kevadia.
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