Krishna Tirath Launches the World Bank Assisted ISSNIP

New Delhi, May 9: Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women & Child Development launched the World Bank assisted ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP), here today.

The programme aims at improving child development and nutritional outcomes for children in selected districts having higher proportional of child under nutrition. Total size of the project is Rs. 2893 crore with 70 percent IDA share of Rs. 2025 crore (USD$ 450 million) over 7 years. The estimated cost of phase 1 of the project is about US$ 151.50 million (Rs. 682 crore) of which US$ 106 million is the IDA share (70 percent). The World Bank is supporting this project initially with a concessionary loan of US$ 106 million payable over 25 years. This is likely to be followed by a second phase of support of US$ 344 million subject to assessment of phase 1. The first phase of the project will support the government’s efforts to strengthen policy measures and institutional capacity and will also finance innovative pilots and programmers in 162 high malnutrition-burden districts across eight States. In additional the project will support urban/sub-urban pilots in NCR of Delhi and convergent nutrition action pilots in Odisha and Uttarakhand.

Speaking at the occasion, Smt. Krishna Tirath said improving nutrition status of India`s women and young children is a high priority for the Government of India. The last National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) data indicate about 43 percent children under 5 years of age and 40 percent under three children are underweight. She also said that the Government has focused efforts on targeting children, mothers and adolescent girls through various programmes of Ministry of Women and Child Development and other Ministries. These efforts have been more pronounced after 2005. Thrust was also provided by the PM’s National Nutrition Council taking four key decisions (i) to strengthen and restructure the ICDS programme, (ii) to design a multi-sectoral programme in 200 high-burden districts; (iii) to implement a nation-wide IEC campaign against malnutrition; and (iv) to bring nutrition focus in various programmes of different Ministries.

Smt. Krishna Tirath said that the WCD Ministry has taken several measures recently to strengthen the programme management, planning and monitoring of ICDS with introduction of revised MIS, and the 5-tier monitoring and supervision committee with representation of People’s representatives (MLAs/MPs/PRI Members) to review the progress in ICDS at different levels. The Minister stated that the strengthening and restructuring of ICDS has already been approved and this will lead to setting up of National and State ICDS Mission with enhanced human and financial resources aimed at transforming AWCs into vibrant child-friendly ECD centres. She said that the Ministry of Women and Child Development has also launched the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) – a conditional maternity benefit scheme which provides a cash benefit of Rs.4000 directly to women 19 years and above for the first two live births if they fulfill specific conditions relating to maternal and child health and nutrition. She further said that the ICDS nutrition services and provisions of maternity benefits are also part of National Food Security Bill.

Speaking at the launch function, Mr. Onno Ruhl, the World Bank Country Director for India stated that undernourishment can begin before a child is even born, with the critical period continuing until he turns two. He also said that nutrition is the key component to lift people above poverty levels and for this the programme needs to have a structure to ensure that the systems are in place so that the benefits reach the intended beneficiaries. The ISSNIP, he said, will support the government’s efforts in building the necessary institutional capacity and systems needed to improve nutrition in the targeted groups of mothers and children. He also stated that malnutrition is not restricted to the poor in India; there are significant regional disparities in nutritional indicators with 60 percent of the burden of malnutrition found in the low-income states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) and an additional 8-10 percent of the burden concentrated in specific geographical areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the implementation of the International Development Association (IDA) assisted ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) last October.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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