India, World Bank sign US$200m deal on nutrition

The loan agreement will support Government of India’s National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) which covers 315 districts across 29 states and seven union territories

May 7, 2018

The funding will help the POSHAN in achieving its goal of reducing growth-related concerns in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4 per cent to 25 per cent by the year 2022

The POSHAN (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyaan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2018 at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan

A big component of POSHAN Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank-assisted Integrated Child Development Services

With a focus on improving the coverage and quality of ICDS services, the project will invest in improving the skills and capacities of ICDS staff and nutrition workers

On May 7th the Government of India signed a loan agreement worth US$200 million with the World Bank to support the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan). The funding will help the national programme in achieving its goal of reducing growth-related concerns in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4 per cent to 25 per cent by the year 2022. The loan will support the first phase of the programme that covers up to 315 districts across 29 Indian states and seven union territories (UTs).  The POSHAN (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyaan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2018 at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. A large component of POSHAN Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank-assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country over a three-year period.

With a focus on improving the coverage and quality of ICDS nutrition services to pregnant and lactating women and children under 3 years of age, the project will include investments in improving the skills and capacities of ICDS staff and nutrition workers. The programme will help institute mechanisms for community mobilization and behavior change communication, strengthen systems of citizen engagement and grievance redressal and establish mobile technology based tools for improved monitoring and management of services for better outreach to beneficiaries during the critical 1,000 day window for nutrition impact. The project will ensure convergence of all nutrition related schemes and provide performance based incentives to states and community nutrition and health workers, facilitating a focus on results. In March, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had conducted the first workshop on POSHAN Abhiyaan involving all the States and UTs.

The Indian Government has undertaken many programmes to address the burden of malnutrition in India. The Mid-day Meal Scheme was launched in 1995 nationwide to improve the nutritional status of students in classes I–VIII in Government-aided schools. The ICDS scheme was launched in 1975 with the objective to improve health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years. Meanwhile, supplementary nutrition is provided to children below the age of six, pregnant and nursing mothers. Under Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, or Sabla, take home ration is given to adolescent girls. Several programmes to reduce the burden of micronutrient deficiencies have been introduced such as the Vitamin A Prophylaxis Programme targeting children up to 6 years of age, the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme to control of iodine deficiency disorders, and the National Iron Plus Initiative to provide iron and folic acid supplementation.