In his 68th address to the nation in Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the importance of proper diet and nutrition for women and children in their formative years. “Nutrition plays a key role in helping children unleash their true potential. The month of September will be celebrated as ‘Poshan Maah’ or nutrition month nationwide. Nation and nutrition are inextricably linked,” he said during his address to the nation.
PM Modi highlighted that our food intake influences our mental and intellectual development. He added that it is essential for a newborn child and the mother to get complete nourishment. The Prime Minister said, “Only public participation can make the initiative successful.” He informed that the ‘nutrition’ has been made into a mass movement in rural areas of India in the past few years.
Quizzes and meme competitions to be used to spread awareness
“Be it through Poshan Safta or Poshan Maah, we are creating awareness about the importance of nutrition. Schools have been asked to hold competitions to spread awareness among children… Just like class monitor, there needs to be a nutrition monitor and nutrition card,” PM Modi stated. He further informed that a quiz on food and nutrition will be organised during the ‘Nutrition Month’ on the MyGov portal.
Proper nutrition is vital to build a prosperous nation. #POSHANMaah2020 starts today. Let us undertake efforts to reach out to people across the length and breadth of India and spread awareness on eradicating malnutrition. This will help our Nari Shakti and Yuva Shakti. pic.twitter.com/mpPEuaT210— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 7, 2020
PM Modi stated that a meme competition will be organised and has asked people to participate in it. He highlighted the nutrition park built on the premises adjoining the ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gujarat. “India is a large country with diverse food habits, seasons, and climates… It is important that a nutrient-rich diet plan is prepared, specific to each region”, he emphasised.
Central database about region-specific nutritious diet to be created
Taking to Twitter, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, wrote, “In order to form a database of indigenous food items with high nutrition value, the Ministry seeks support of people of India. Contribute towards Bharatiya Poshan Krish Kosh by sharing traditional recipes of your family/region.” She had appealed to people to share recipes of balanced and nutritious region-specific diet so that they can create a central database for the welfare of women and young children.
In order to form database of indigenous food items with high nutrition value, @MinistryWCD seeks support of people of India. Contribute towards Bharatiya Poshan Krish Kosh by sharing traditional recipes of your family / region https://t.co/zCSxOiqfAm #POSHAHMaah2020 #Local4Poshan pic.twitter.com/92MtkMCujv— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) September 7, 2020
The Poshan Abhiyan Campaign
On March 8, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched POSHAN Abhiyaan (abbreviated for The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) to improve the nutritional level for children, pregnant and lactating women. Also known as National Nutrition Mission, the objective behind the campaign was to reduce malnutrition by 2022. NITI Aayog has been handed the task to monitor, evaluate, and file periodic reports about the progress of the initiative.
When the ‘Poshan Maah’ was first observed in 2018, the broad themes included optimal breastfeeding, anemia, growth monitoring, complementary feeding and education, diet, hygiene, and sanitation of girl child. The event was successful as the Mission reached over 13 crore children, 12.2 crore women, and 6.2 crore men through various activities observed in September 2018. In total, a total of a whopping 30.6 crore people were benefitted by the awareness campaign.