Maneka Gandhi for a national mission to tackle malnutrition
"A comprehensive time bound action plan in the form of National Nutrition Mission needs to be put in place urgently to accelerate progress towards nutrition security in India," Gandhi said.
She was addressing the inaugural session of a two-day workshop on "Consultation on National Nutrition Mission in India: Accelerating Essential Nutrition Actions".
She asked various stakeholders to put such an action plan in place by November 1 this year. Gandhi also appreciated some experts' suggestions like setting up of an autonomous body to oversee implementation of such an action plan.
Union Health Secretary Lov Verma said that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is setting up nutrition rehabilitation centres to tackle acute malnutrition.
"India's performance is dismal even when we take into account countries with comparable GDP levels," he said.
The two-day workshop will deliberate on detailed contours of the proposed mission and examine innovative interventions which can be put into place to tackle the problem of malnutrition.
According to National Family Health Survey (2005-06), almost 35.6 per cent of women in India have low body mass index, 22 per cent babies are born with low birth weight, 42.5 per cent of children under 5 years are underweight, 48 per cent are stunted, and 19.8 per cent are wasted.