[Editorial Analysis] Gardens of plenty

Mains Paper 2: Social Justice
Prelims level: Poshan Vatikas
Mains level: Poverty and Hunger

Context:

• On the backdrop of month-long celebrations of Poshan Maah in Sep, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) has established Poshan Vatikas a.k.a Nutrition Garden across all Anganwadi centers.

Aim/Objective:

• To provide a fresh supply of fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants mainly in aspirational districts.

• This concept builds on self-reliance and the adoption of sustainable food systems to address nutrition security.

India’s Nutritional Security State:

• For the past few years, Indian PM has strongly committed towards Kuposhan Mukt Bharat because:

• As per the FAO’s latest The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report:

• India has the highest proportion of stunted and wasted children under 5 years i.e. 30% and 17.3% respectively.

• India’s 15.3% of the total population is undernourished.

• The report also indicates that India with the current efforts would fail to achieve SDG goal of eliminating malnutrition holistically by 2030.

Challenges and Determinants of nutritional security:

• Access to the food.

• Poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation,

• Where 50% of the rural population does not have safe and adequate drinking water access.

• Low levels of immunization and education mainly Women.

• More than 15% of schools lack access to basic infra,

• The annual school drop at higher levels of education is 18%.

• High leakages and corruption in the food distribution.

• Rice and Wheat based food distribution programs.

• Digital and Connectivity barriers further alienate the poorest of the poor from accessing the PDS rations.

Significance of Poshan Vatikas in this backdrop: ICDS Guidelines:

• It will encourage community members to grow local food crops in their backyards, thereby secure them with a regular and inexpensive supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.

• It will address the micro-nutrient deficiencies through access to diverse and nutritious diets coupled with the generation of economic activity in the region.

• It mandates retrofitting of these gardens with backyard poultry and fishing as per prevalent food culture that will address the protein requirements.

• Additionally, the Nutri-gardens will act as a education site for children about the need for fresh food produce consumption and healthy dietary behavior promotion amongst women.

• The global evidence demonstrates that setting up of Nutri-gardens can significantly improve awareness about dietary diversity and preference for the consumption of fresh food produce.

Challenges/Barriers in implementing Nutri-Gardens:

• Lack of active parent involvement.

• Though many studies demonstrate an increase in intermediate outcomes like dietary diversity, evidence is inconclusive around the impact of nutria-gardens on the long-term nutritional parameters of women and children.

• Lack of access to cultivable land,

• Lack availability of water source and supply of seeds and inputs,

• Lack of protection against grazing,

• Low bandwidth and skill sets of Anganwadi workers,

• Lack of effective coordination among diverse stakeholders.

Interventions required:

• Increase convergence between govts agriculture and nutrition policy,

• Build capacity of anganwadi workers by increasing their compensation.

• Bridging the gap between production and consumption of produce,

• Launching nationwide awareness programmes to disseminate the messages of diet diversity importance.

Conclusions:

• Nutri-Gardens has the potential to address multiple goals from diet diversity, nutrition security to environmental sustainability.

• The need of the hour for govt is to scale up the initiative on the lines of its flagship programs, which will ultimately contribute to achieving the SDGs.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the bad bank, consider the following statements:

1. A bad bank is a corporate structure that isolates risky assets held by banks in a separate entity.

2. The bad bank or NARCL will pay up to 15 per cent of the agreed value for the loans in cash and the remaining 85 per cent would be government-guaranteed security receipts.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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