The Government of India has been continuously attempting to improve the nutritional status of the Indian children. So far, the government has initiated and implemented several schemes such as Anganwadi feeding, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, and Integrated Child Development Services. Over the years, these programmes have shown tangible results in the health and nutritional status of children across the country. To further the impact of these programmes in a more focussed manner, the Government of India recently launched the National Nutrition Mission, also referred to as ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’.
What is National Nutrition Mission?
According to a government press release dated December 2017, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three-year budget of Rs. 9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18. Soon after this announcement, in March 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Mission at an event in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
The National Nutrition Mission is a comprehensive approach towards integrating various nutrition-oriented schemes to improve the nutrition level in the country targeting children and pregnant women. The NMM will act as an apex body with the responsibility to monitor, supervise, fix targets and guide the nutrition related interventions across the Ministries. The NMM aims to create a synergy and link schemes with each other having common goals and deal with nutrition-related issues in a more focussed manner. Below is a quick overview of the NMM:
What is Akshaya Patra’s role in National Nutrition Mission?
The NMM is indeed a robust approach and the success of it will require a concerted effort from government, corporates, NGOs, and the civil society. Hence, The Akshaya Patra Foundation with 18 years of experience in executing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme will certainly has a crucial role to play in the implementation of the NMM. Currently, there are 34 centralised Akshaya Patra kitchens and the Foundation also has operational decentralised kitchens in two locations. All the kitchens of Akshaya Patra adhere to standard operational processes and have strict hygiene and cleanliness processes. The Foundation ensures that every meal that is served is freshly cooked, nutritious, clean, hygienic, and tasty.
Shridhar Venkat, CEO of The Foundation says, “It is important to ensure that the high standards of cleanliness and quality of meals that Akshaya Patra adheres to, is maintained even after the food is delivered, right until it is consumed by children. In order to facilitate this, we plan to raise awareness among the school authorities and children.” He further added, “In order to enhance the nutritional value of meals, we plan to include high fibre, protein-rich millets and micro-nutrient dense fortified rice in our meals. We have started the millet integration project in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Similarly, over 6-lakh children are benefiting from our ‘Rice Fortification’ programme.”
Recently, Akshaya Patra also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nutrition International India to Improve Nutritional Status of Women and Children in India. Click here to read more.
Presently, Akshaya Patra is providing nutritious meals to more than 1.7 million children studying in 14,173 schools across 36 locations of 12 states. The Foundation aims to feed 5 million children by 2020. The objective of Akshaya Patra is in line with the NMM and it is leaving no stone unturned to nourish the children of India.
How can you be a part of National Nutrition Mission?
The government and the implementing NGOs have all geared up to implement the National Nutrition Mission. And, it’s time that each of us got involved with this Mission too. School meals nourish, nurture, and instil confidence in children. And, this shapes the future of children and maps the progress of the country. So, step forward and sponsor a child’s school meal.