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First Meeting of National Council under POSHAN Abhiyaan

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The first meeting of National Council on India's Nutrition Challenges under POSHAN Abhiyaan held tomorrow on April 18, 2018, at Vigyan Bhawan, Hall No. 3 at 10:30 AM onwards in New Delhi. The meeting was Chaired by of Shri Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman NITI Aayog, Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health & Nutrition) NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, apart from representatives of various ministries of the Central and State Governments. 

The mandate of the National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges is as under: 

(a) Provide policy directions to address India’s nutritional challenges through coordinated inter-sectoral action. 

(b) Coordinate and review convergence between Ministries. 

(c) Review programmes for nutrition on a quarterly basis. 

The Council will submit its report to the Prime Minister every 6 months. 

The POSHAN Abhiyaan targets reduction in the level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition-related schemes. It will monitor and review the implementation of all such schemes and in this endeavor, the Abhiyaan seeks to utilize existing structural arrangements of line Ministries wherever available. 

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution , Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of  State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs, State Ministers of WCD from the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, Secretaries of Central Government and District Collectors of eight districts attended the meeting and deliberated on the implementation of the Abhiyaan. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan stressed that mothers should be involved through Self Help groups for distribution of take-home ration in Anganwadi Centres.

Some of the important decisions taken in the meeting are :

  1. 235 Additional Districts have been confirmed as part of Phase II of POSHAN Abhiyaan in financial year 2018-19

The districts have been selected on the basis of:-

      (a)   The level of stunting.

      (b)   Ensuring all LWE (105) and Aspirational (117) districts are included.

      (c)   Wherever a gap of 1 district was left to achieve saturation in


315 districts were already covered under phase-I of POSHAN Abhiyaan. The balance of 167 districts out of 718 districts will be covered in Phase III of the Abhiyaan

  1. Provision of Smartphones instead of Tablets to Lady Supervisors.

Some states have highlighted problems in procurement of tablets for Anganwadi supervisors. The issue was discussed at the meeting and it was decided that Smartphone's may be procured for Anganwadi supervisors instead of Tablets.           

  1. Direct transfer of Funds to States/UTs for Cash Award to Frontline Functionaries, instead of Creation of Corpus Fund.

It was decided to examine the matter in consultation with the Ministry of Finance.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman Niti Aayog stressed on the need for ground level work and participation from all sectors, for converting the mission into Jan Andolan and achieving the goals. He called for feedback and suggestions from members and state and district level officers in implementing the mission.

Dr. Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog in his address highlighted that the focus is on the first 1000 days of the child and preventive care for adolescent girls, women, and mothers. He also said that Home-based Care for Young Child (HBYC) would be a crucial component of POSHAN Abhiyaan. In HBYC, ASHAs supported by Anganwadi workers(AWW) will visit the homes of children aged between 3 to 15 months and sensitive mothers on energy density and diet of child. The committee has endorsed his recommendation on: 

  • Package of interventions matrix for the first 1000 days of the child
  • Roll out HBYC within a month
  • Social and behavioral change roadmap and action rollout


During the meeting following decisions were also taken

  • The pilot will be conducted in 10 districts for conditional cash transfer(CCT) through direct benefit transfer
  • States/UTs to continue their existing system of providing supplementary nutrition under Anganwadi services

Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Joint Secretary highlighted that various incentives have been made a part of POSHAN Abhiyaan. To encourage Anganwadi workers to use mobile phones for real-time monitoring (ICT-RTM),  incentive funds shall be provided for each Anganwadi worker per month. It will be linked to the achievements of certain targets.

Centralized call center will be established for monitoring, grievance redressal, and interventions.

Speaking on the importance of ICDS-CAS, he said that it will help in collecting real-time data enabling supportive supervision and timely intervention by department officials. He also added that it would further create robust monitoring, evaluation and analysis platform at all hierarchical levels, through an integrated dashboard. E-learning module has also been created for Anganwadi workers. Comprehensive Guidelines and Manuals are now available at State Level for all Abhiyaan Components.

Sh. Rakesh Srivastava, Secretary, WCD Ministry in his address said that there is a need to ensure convergence of various programmes spread across Ministries as under: 

  • Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Scheme for Adolescent Girls of Ministry of Women & Child Development;
  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM), Home-based Newborn Care, Home-Based Yong Child Care, Anemia Mukt Bharat  and Rashtrya Bal Swasth Krayakram of MoH&FW;
  • Swachchh Bharat Mission, Construction of toilets and WASH of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (DW&S);
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS),  of Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD);
  • Drinking Water & Toilets with Ministry of Panchayati Raj;

He also stressed on the need for Convergence among Field Functionaries like AWWs, ANM, ASHA and DAY-NRLM as a part of Community based engagement. He further highlighted that States/UTs and Line Ministries need to achieve convergence through close coordination between the Departments of Women & Child Welfare; Health; Drinking Water & sanitation; Rural Development; Panchayati Raj; Education and Food and other concerned Departments. 

The first lot of 40  Swasth Bharat Preraks is being dispatched by end of the month and would be available at District level to assist the staff in the smooth roll-out. Under the Abhiyaan, Swasth Bharat Preraks will be deployed one in each District for coordinating with District officials and enabling fast and efficient execution of the Abhiyaan across the country. Swasth Bharat Preraks would function as a catalyst for fast-tracking the implementation of the Abhiyaan. By July 2018, 315 Swasth Bharat Preraks are likely to be deployed in 315 districts of Phase I of the POSHAN Abhiyaan.

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