POSHAN Maah 2021: Recipe competitions, local nutritious cuisines, plantation of fruit trees in focus as nutrition scheme charts out weekly themes

To improve nutrition levels in women and children, the central government has divided September month into weekly themes. These also include setting up ‘Poshan Vatikas’ in anganwadi centres and promotion of local nutritious meals for pregnant women through recipe competition. More details here.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: August 30th, 2021

Tribal women in Malkangiri, Odisha, collecting vegetables they grew. Photo: By arrangement

Every year, the month of September is celebrated as ‘POSHAN Maah’ in India. Launched in 2018, the POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan aims to improve nutritional outcomes for children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

This year, to ensure speedy and intensive outreach, the September month has been divided into weekly themes for focused and assimilated approach towards improving holistic nutrition.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has released a series of activities categorised into four themes for the entire month. Between September 1-7, it aims to boost plantation drive for ‘Poshan Vatika’ (nutrition gardens) in the space available at anganwadis, school premises, gram panchayats.

The table highlights the thematic approach to be followed this year.

“Plantation activity will focus on planting of saplings of nutritious fruit trees, local vegetables and medicinal plants and herbs,” stated the government statement dated August 29.

Also Read: Nutrition gardens offer hope and health to malnourished children in Rajasthan

Between September 8-15, the focus would be on Yoga and AYUSH for Nutrition theme. This would include a “5-minute Yoga Protocol” (Y-break or yoga break) at various workplaces for the government employees and corporate bodies.

Between September 16-23, ‘Regional Nutrition Kit’ is expected to be distributed amongst anganwadi beneficiaries of high burden districts. The kits are expected to comprise regional nutritious food such as Sukadi (Gujarat), Panjiri (Punjab), Sattu (Bihar), Chikki (Maharashtra).

Also Read: Mixed millets khichdi, madira ki kheer, barnyard millet dosa. Have you tried these superfood millet recipes?

“Slogan writing and Recipe competitions will be organised to highlight the locally available nutritious food for pregnant women,” read the statement.

During the last week of the month, September 24-30, a drive for block wise identification of severe acute malnourished (SAM) Children will be organised. As part of the drive, a supervised supplementary feeding programme for SAM children is also expected as an initiative to tackle prevalence of SAM in children up to the age of five years.

In a recent RTI query, the Women and Child Development Ministry stated that till last November it had identified 927,606 severe acute malnourished (SAM) kids between the age groups of six months and six years across the country. 

Of these, the highest — 398,359 SAM kids — were in Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar (279,427). Simply put, almost 43 per cent of all under-6 SAM category kids in India are in Uttar Pradesh and 30 per cent are in Bihar (see map: Top 10 states with highest under-6 SAM children). SAM significantly increases the risk of death in children under five years of age and such children need institutional care.

Map: Top 10 states with highest under-6 SAM children

Also Read: Severely malnourished under-5 children consumed by hunger in the pandemic

The ministry also claimed to organise a special drive for height and weight measurement for under-6 kids during the Poshan Maah.