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PIB Summaries 02 September 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Rashtriya Poshan Maah
  2. Promoting Fungi Awareness: “Funga” for “Flora and Fauna”

Rashtriya Poshan Maah


Context:

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is celebrating the 5th Rashtriya Poshan Maah 2023 from 1st to 30th September 2023.

  • Theme: Suposhit Bharat, Sakshar Bharat, Sashakt Bharat

Relevance:

Focus: GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Nutrition Month (Rashtriya Poshan Maah)
  2. About Poshan Abhiyaan
  3. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) – Govt. Schemes

National Nutrition Month (Rashtriya Poshan Maah)

  • The entire month of September is celebrated as the Rashtriya Poshan Maah.
  • The purpose of celebrating the Poshan month is to take the message of nutrition to every nook and corner of the country (especially grass root level) and to focus on complimentary food, treatment, and prevention from infections in children.
  • The programme is an initiative of Women and Child Development Ministry and NITI Aayog is supported by 18 line Ministries / Departments / Government Organizations.
  • It seeks to synergise all efforts by leveraging technology and intends to take nutrition awareness to the level of Jan Andolan or People’s Movement.
  • The programme focuses on 8 themes – Antenatal Care, Optimal Breastfeeding (Early & Exclusive), Complementary Feeding, Anemia, Growth Monitoring, Girls-education, diet, right age of Marriage, Hygiene & Sanitation, Food Fortification.

About Poshan Abhiyaan

  • The term ‘POSHAN’ in the name of the programme stands for ‘Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition’.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan launched in 2018 aims at improving the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers.
  • According to ‘Mission 25 by 2020’, the National Nutrition Mission aims to achieve a reduction in stunting from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan focuses on convergence among partner Ministries leveraging technology and Jan Andolan among other things, to address issue of malnutrition comprehensively.
  • Near-real time reporting by field functionaries and improved MIS is aimed at smooth implementation of scheme and better service delivery.
  • It also targets stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and low birth rate.
  • It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
  • 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.
  • Its vision is to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
Implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan is based on the four-point strategy/pillars of the mission:
  • Inter-sectoral convergence for better service delivery
  • Use of technology (ICT) for real time growth monitoring and tracking of women and children
  • Intensified health and nutrition services for the first 1000 days
  • Jan Andolan
Issues of Poshan Abhiyaan
  • Information and communications technology-enabled real time monitoring (ICT-RTM) has been rolled out in POSHAN Abhiyaan districts.
  • This could be ineffective due to the limited capacities of Anganwadi workers (AWs) to handle smartphones owing to their lack of technological literacy.
  • Technical issues like slow servers and data deletion problems, resulting in irregular and improper recording of growth data of children.
  • AWs are the fulcrum of POSHAN Abhiyaan and render vital services to mothers and children in villages.
  • Nearly 40% of AWs had to use their personal money to run the AWCs, 35% of them complained of delayed payments.
  • This makes AWs demotivated and demoralized.
Anganwadi Centres
  • Anganwadis or day-care centres are set up under the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
  • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Anganwadi centres provide a package of six services: supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, immunisation, nutrition and health education, as well as referral services.
  • The primary aim of the scheme is to reduce infant mortality and child malnutrition.
  • Beneficiaries of these centers will be Children in the age group of zero to six years, and pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • It was started by the Government of India In 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
  • The beneficiaries under the Anganwadi Services Scheme are identified on the basis of Aadhaar.

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) – Govt. Schemes

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a Centrally-Sponsored scheme, is an Indian government welfare programme that provides food, preschool education, and primary healthcare to children under 6 years of age and their mothers.
  • The scheme was started in 1975 and aims at the holistic development of children and empowerment of mother.
  • The scheme primarily runs through the Anganwadi centers and the scheme is under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Objectives of ICDS are:
  • To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
  • To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
  • To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  • To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and
  • To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.
  • Services Provided by the ICDS are:
  • Supplementary Nutrition (SNP)
  • Health & Nutrition Check-Up
  • Immunization
  • Non-Formal Education for Children in Pre-School
  • Health and Nutrition Education
  • Referral services
Six Schemes under Umbrella ICDS:

Anganwadi Services Scheme: A unique programme for early childhood care and development which benefits children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: Provides cash incentive amounting to Rs.5,000/- in three installments directly to the Bank/Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother (PW&LM) in DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) Mode during pregnancy and lactation in response to individual fulfilling specific conditions.

National Creche Scheme: Provides day care facilities to children of age group of 6 months to 6 years of working women for seven and half hours a day for 26 days in a month.

Scheme for Adolescent Girls: Aims to empower and improve the social status of out of school girls in the age group 11-14 through nutrition, life skills and home skills.

Child Protection Scheme: Aims to contribute to the improvement and well-being of children in difficult circumstances, as well as, reduction of vulnerabilities to situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from parents.

POSHAN Abhiyaan: Targets to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies by reducing mal-nutrition/undernutrition, anemia among young children as also, focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.


Promoting Fungi Awareness: “Funga” for “Flora and Fauna”


Context:

Recently, United Nations Biodiversity advocates the use of the term “funga” instead of “flora and fauna” to emphasize the significance of fungi in ecosystems.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recognizing Fungi: UN Biodiversity’s Call for “Funga”
  2. Fungi: Nature’s Decomposers and More

Recognizing Fungi: UN Biodiversity’s Call for “Funga”

UN Biodiversity advocates for the inclusion of fungi in conservation frameworks, placing them on par with animals and plants.

Prior Efforts
  • This isn’t the first time such a request has been made; earlier, the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) committed to using “mycologically inclusive” language in both internal and public communications.
  • The SSC also integrated fungi into conservation strategies involving rare and endangered flora and fauna.
  • Crucial Ecological Role
  • Fungi, including yeasts, molds, and mushrooms, are essential for various ecological processes:
    • Decomposition and forest regeneration.
    • Mammalian digestion.
    • Carbon sequestration.
    • Global nutrient cycling.
    • Antibiotic medications.
  • These contributions underscore the vital role fungi play in maintaining life on Earth.

Fungi: Nature’s Decomposers and More

  • Eukaryotic Nature: Fungi possess complex, membrane-bound cell organelles and a true nucleus, similar to plants, animals, and protists.
  • Heterotrophic Lifestyle: Primarily functioning as decomposers or saprophytes, fungi acquire nutrients by absorbing organic matter from their surroundings.
  • Enzyme Secretion: Fungi release enzymes to break down complex organic compounds into simpler substances, facilitating absorption.
Benefits of Fungi
  • Nutrient Cycling: Fungi aid in nutrient cycling by converting nutrients into forms accessible to plants. They break down organic matter, enriching soil fertility.
  • Carbon Cycling and Climate Regulation: Fungi participate in soil carbon storage, decomposing organic matter and forming symbiotic relationships with plant roots. This aids in nutrient uptake.
  • Fungi as Food: Fungi have numerous culinary and industrial uses. Yeasts are crucial in baking and brewing, and they produce antibiotics like penicillin. Edible fungi like mushrooms and truffles are prized in cuisine, while molds are used in cheese production.
  • Environmental Protection: Fungi help degrade various pollutants, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, and oil-based products. They contribute to environmental cleanup.
Harmful Effects of Fungi
  • Human and Animal Diseases: Fungi can cause diseases in humans and animals, including athlete’s foot, ringworm, histoplasmosis, and aspergillosis. Some fungi produce harmful mycotoxins that contaminate food.
  • Crop and Plant Diseases: Fungal pathogens can infect and harm crops and plants, leading to significant agricultural losses. Examples include rusts, powdery mildews, and various fungal blights.
  • Allergic Reactions: Fungal spores, especially in humid indoor environments, can trigger allergies and respiratory issues, leading to conditions like allergic rhinitis and bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
  • Biodegradation of Materials: Fungi have the capacity to break down materials such as textiles, leather, and paper, which can be problematic if these materials are not properly preserved or stored.

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