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Aiming to eradicate malnutrition among children, Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia has proposed setting up a nodal agency, which would work in mission mode, for child nutrition and development. In a private member’s Bill, he said despite thousands of crores of rupees being spent and a number of government schemes working for child development, the status of health and nutrition of children remains abysmal. Currently, all nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive schemes work in silos.
As a result, they are not able to achieve the intended outcome, Scindia said.Therefore, the establishment of a nodal agency that would facilitate coordination of all ministries and departments and execute the schemes in a convergent manner is urgently required, he said. According to the Child Nutrition and Development Nodal Agency Bill, 2017, the body would facilitate and supervise multi-sectoral programme in high, medium- and low-burdened districts with malnourished children. The Bill states the agency would coordinate and administer policy implementation among various ministries responsible for implementing programmes aimed at eradicating malnutrition. At the end of each financial year, the agency will submit a report of its activities to the Central government, the Bill stated. “The need of the hour is to involve all field functionaries in a productive manner," Scindia said, adding that consistent monitoring and evaluation of the schemes using technological interventions and real-time data is important. There is also a need to provide leverage budgets from related departments to develop an integrated plan with cross-sectoral collaboration to achieve nutrition-related targets, he said.