ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

NutritionSubscribe to Nutrition

Mid-Day Meal

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is the world's biggest school lunch programme and is being implemented all over India for primary and upper primary school students. However, nutrition and hygiene are now among the main challenges it faces. Out of 876 test reports of mid-day meal samples in Delhi from 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2013, more than 90% failed to meet the standard of 12 gms of protein and 450 calories. A number of loopholes in the scheme need to be plugged if nutritious food, not just something cooked, is to reach the plates of poor students.

Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations

This paper reviews recent evidence on food intake and nutrition in India. It attempts to make sense of various puzzles, particularly the decline of average calorie intake during the last 25 years. This decline has occurred across the distribution of real per capita expenditure, in spite of increases in real income and no long-term increase in the relative price of food. One hypothesis is that calorie requirements have declined due to lower levels of physical activity or improvements in the health environment. If correct, this does not imply that there are no calorie deficits in the Indian population - nothing could be further from the truth. These deficits are reflected in some of the worst anthropometric indicators in the world, and the sluggish rate of improvement of these indicators is of major concern. Yet recent trends remain confused and there is an urgent need for better nutrition monitoring.

Foodgrains : Distribution Woes

Distribution Woes The targeted public distribution system (TPDS) was launched in 1997 in order to make up for the many lacunae in the PDS programme in terms of reaching food to the poorest and the most needy. Under the TPDS, state governments were required to design and implement a system of identifying the poor and ensuring distribution of foodgrains to them in a transparent manner. TPDS was initially aimed to cover 6 crore families for whom 72 lakh tonnes of foodgrains were to be allocated annually. The per family allocation for the belowpoverty- line (BPL) population was gradually increased from 10 kg per month to the present 35 kg per month. Yet, according to a recent report of the standing committee of parliament attached to the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, offtake of wheat and rice under the PDS has been consistently way below allocations year after year. The offtake in 2001-02 was below 50 per cent of allocation, which was more or less the situation in the earlier years too.

Edible Oil Consumption

In India, edible oils are a significant source of essential fats. However, fat intake is almost absent among the rural poor, for whom edible oils are largely unaffordable. Edible oil consumption should be encouraged among the rural poor by supply via PDS at low cost. Steps to boost cultivation and lower the cost of production and import will also help to meet requirements.

Strategies to Combat Under-Nutrition

Household nutrition security in the 21st century must come to mean a lot more than avoidance of starvation. Foods for families must be adequate; that is, not just meet the bare energy needs for survival, but provide all the nutrients essential for normal development. The changing nutrition scene is influenced directly and indirectly by several interrelated factors. There is a need to evolve nutritional-orientation of food production programmes; examine and reverse the mistakes of the past and use new knowledge and technologies to evolve new strategies for combating under-nutrition.


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