Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, Public Health


According to a new study published in The Lancet, India is unlikely to meet targets set under the ambitious Poshan Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM) for reduction in prevalence of stunting, underweight, low birth weight and anaemia in women and children by 2022 if there is no progress achieved in improving the rate of decline observed between 1990 and 2017.


The report is a joint initiative of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Key Highlights

  • The study points out that India will miss its target for stunting levels of 25% by 9.6%; underweight target of 22.7% by 4.8%; desired low birth level of 11.4% by 8.9%; anaemia level among women of 39.4% by 13.8%; and anaemia level among children of 44.7% by 11.7%, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017.
  • While the base for NNM targets is NFHS-4 data, the study considers prevalence levels determined in 2017 as the base level, which are comparable with the former.
  • The study used all accessible data sources from India, including national household surveys, a variety of dietary and nutrition surveys, and other epidemiological studies, to arrive at its findings.

Are the findings worrisome?

  • Poshan Abhiyaan has doubled the rate of decline. For example, it sets a target of 2% reduction per year for underweight, but the percentage of reduction for this indicator typically is 1%.
  • The prevalent levels were slow; but the country aspires to make them faster and is making extra efforts to achieve that.
  • As per Dr. Vinod K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, the findings are not worrisome and Poshan Abhiyaan has the potential to change the scenario.

Aspirational Targets

  • The study points out that the malnutrition indicator targets set by NNM for 2022 are aspirational.
  • The rate of improvement needed to achieve these targets is much higher than the rate observed in this study, which might be difficult to reach in a short period.
  • This slow pace of improvement needs to be accelerated, so that future prevalence of the malnutrition indicators is better than the projections based on trends so far.

About National Nutrition Mission

  • It was launched by PM Narendra Modi in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan in March 2018.
  • It targets to reduce level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition related schemes.
  • It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
  • It targets to reduce stunting, under- nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • Although the target to reduce Stunting is at least 2% p.a., Mission would strive to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
  • Its large component involves gradual scaling-up of interventions supported by on-going World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country by 2022.

[Source: The Hindu, PIB]

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