New Delhi: Government enacted the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in July 2013 with an intended coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving highly subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System.
One of the guiding principles of the Act is its life cycle approach wherein special provisions for supplementary nutrition have been made for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years:
- Every pregnant woman and lactating mother is entitled to meals, free of charge, during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, through the local anganwadi, so as to meet the specified nutritional standards and also maternity benefit of not less than Rs 6,000 to partly compensate for the wage loss during the period of pregnancy and also to supplement nutrition.
- Every child in the age group of six months to six years, is entitled to age appropriate meals, free of charge, through the local anganwadi so as to meet the specified nutritional standards.
- In the case of children up to Class 8 or within the age group of six to fourteen years, whichever is applicable, one mid-day meal, free of charge is provided every day except on school holidays, in all schools run by local bodies, Government and Government aided schools, so as to meet the specified nutritional standards.
- State Governments through the local anganwadi, also identify and provide meals, free of charge, to children who suffer from malnutrition, so as to meet the specified nutritional standards.
The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) was launched in 2007-08 to increase the production of rice, wheat and pulses through
- Area expansion and productivity enhancement,
- Restoring soil fertility and productivity,
- Creating employment opportunities, and
- Enhancing farm level economy.
Coarse cereals were also included from 2014-15 under NFSM. The interventions covered under NFSM include cluster demonstrations on improved packaging practices, demonstrations on cropping system, Seed distribution of high yielding varieties, farm machinery/resource conservation machinery/tools, efficient water application tools, plant protection measures, nutrient management/soil ameliorants, cropping system based trainings to the farmers, and more.
NFSM continued during 12th Five Year Plan with the target of additional production of 25 million tonnes of food grains. Beyond the 12th Plan, the mission is being continued with a new additional target of 13 million tonnes of foodgrains from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
The country achieved bumper production of foodgrains during 2017-18 at 285.01 million tonnes. As per 4th Advance Estimates, total foodgrains production achieved during 2018-19 is 284.95 million tonnes.
NFSM is being implemented in identified districts of 29 states in the country.
The supplementary nutrition programmes envisaged under the National Food Security Act for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children upto the age of 14 years are operating smoothly and no proposal to reassess these programmes is under consideration of the Government.
This information was given in a written reply by the Minister of State Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, in Lok Sabha on 19 November.
It is worth noting that on 18 November Smriti Irani launched the ‘Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Krosh’ (BPKK) nutrition program with Bill Gates in New Delhi.
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