The recent report released by the Women and Child Development ministry revealed that the state governments had not used more than half of the funds allocated for Poshan Abhiyaan. This indicates at best, the state’s apathy towards its citizens. In a country that reels under massive malnutrition, the under-utilization of funds by the concerned agencies proves the dismal governance that they offer to the citizens. It is no surprise then that we rank 102nd on the Global Hunger Index, seven ranks below Pakistan.
Poshan Abhiyan or the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) seeks to improve the nutritional outcomes of women and children. Three years since the mission’s launch, it has not been able to gear itself to achieve its target by 2022. One measure that must be taken by the central government is directing the implementation of the scheme at the rural level to the Gram Panchayat, even through incentivising the Panchayats for proper allocation of funds and meticulous implementation of the scheme.
Secondly, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) must be properly synergized with the NNM for better results. Anganwadi workers can play a vital role in ensuring the same. Also, for proper oversight of the scheme, the central government should appoint nodal officers in impoverished districts with deficient levels of malnutrition.
One of the most formidable challenges India faces today is to prepare its children for a better and healthy future. The children are the resource of a country when adequately fed and educated. But the same children could turn into a liability if they are not taken care of during their growing period. The SDG goals that India has vowed to achieve will only remain as vows—unless the government develops a serious attitude towards not only making the policies but also allowing the policies to percolate to the beneficiaries through proper channels.