Explained: NITI Aayog on India’s export competitiveness

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

For India to be a global economic achiever it will have to take export as the key to achieve it. Although India has a huge domestic market it still lacks in export sector due to various reasons which includes payment constraints, fostering specialisation, and critical mass and productivity. To overcome these lacunas the Think Tank of India ‘NITI Aayog’ has been taking various steps to boost up India’s ability to compete in the export sectors.

In total 17 measures have been proposed by NITI Aayog to improve the trade capabilities of India’s foreign trade. A National Commercial Network (NTN) has been established which will improve the flow of information, and will also assess in making the custom process as well as the Information Technology system more efficient. NTN was established in accordance and maintaining the norms of the Goods and Service Tax(GSTN) which will integrate all departmental data streams into one integrated system to enable all the similar online compliance with export and Import.

NTN has also focused on assessing the MSMEs which at present takes assistance from third party to have export done through various exporting companies. NTN will allow MSMEs to export without taking any sort of assistance which inturn reduce the cost of transaction and thus making India an efficient country.

NTN being an online portal will allow all the exporters to achieve all the information and documents in relation to their products online in one place. There will be no need to deal separately with various departments which includes customs, the general directoral of foreign tade, shipping companies, ports, and maritime and air banks.

Use of simple and vernacular language is suggested in order to improve flow of information which will help the exporters to understand the communication been taken place and the use of NTN will ensure more and more transparency in the issuance of notices, publishing all previous court decision online which will help the exporters to look into various issues that had come up and what were the remedy provided to the exporters in those situation.

Focusing on making the process of customs more efficient, experts has suggested modifying the risk management system (RMS) which will track the action of the field officer right from the beginning of removing the products from the factory to final export.

Significance of this development:

Development of NTN will have a significant impact on the export efficiency and transparency. Since it focuses on various factors which were the reasons due to which India’s export was not able to compete with the world. NTN will provide better information regarding the export and the exporter will have access to all the documents which will improve the efficiency. With regard to the custom process, the officer were indulged in various unethical activities which included demanding cars, free meals etc and these was done even in the absence of rent seeking. These reforms could further assess India in improving its rank on ‘Trading across borders’ parameters in the World Bank’s ease of doing business. At present India stands at 68 where as in 2018 it was on 146th rank.

What is export competitiveness?

It is considered as the ability of a country/state/region to export more in value added terms than it imports when including for “terms of trade” to reflect all government “discounts” and import barriers.

If we go by the above definition, a nation will be able to run a large trade surplus, but if it does so by providing large amount of discounts to the exporters or building up huge barriers for importers, it would not be considered truly competitive.

What is the relevance in current time?

Only when country focuses on export competitiveness it will be able to make it place in the International market. Export will generate foreign income which will help the country’s economy grow at larger scale which will lead to development of the country. Every country should focus on making the export competitiveness efficient and transparent enough for the other countries to rely on the policies of the country for importing the goods from the exporting country.

India’s policy regarding Export Competitiveness

For years India has been focusing on the betterment of export quantity and quality. The textile and clothing industry has a significant importance in Indian economy due to its significant contribution to the total exports. Due to abundant raw materials, low labour cost and vertically integrated production facility India’s textile and clothing industry has strength and competitiveness in the global market. To improve export competitiveness and productivity, the Indian government allowed 100% foreign direct investment in the textile and clothing industry through an automatic route. In other sector as well government as has been taking various steps to promote more of export by providing various set of immunity in taxes and other benefits to boost up India’s Export Competitiveness  

Scope of improvement

With the fast growing economies around the world the competing nations have to gear up in order to make their place into fastest growing nations, and efficient export competitiveness is one of the important factors that help a country to have better economy. In this era there are varieties of new technology which have the potential to profoundly transform trade in which India lags far behind then the other nations. Thus NTN is one of the major assessing source through which India can boost up the export competitiveness. With the help of various technologies India will be able to make it place up in fastest growing nations, what is required is that the government starts making use of technologies which will better the traditional goods export but it will also move up the value chain and export medium and high technology goods.

Conclusion

The think tank is making a progressive step towards betterment of India’s export Competitiveness by using the NTN which will help the exporter in various sectors and thus boost up the economy of India. NITI Aayog is focusing on providing assistance to the exporters where they will have to go through minimal effort and they will be able to export their products round the world. Which will not only boost up the export but will also build up trust of the exporters in the government as they will be able to access all sorts of document at one stop and the officers will not be able to continue with all sorts of unethical work they do to suppress the exporters during the custom process. If India is able to bring uniformity and transparency in the custom process then in no time India’s export competitiveness will have a great impact on the economy.

Author: Shruti pandey from ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad.

Editor: Silky Mittal, Junior Editor, Lexlife India.

Agriculture export policy, 2018

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

India is a country which is acknowledged for the variety of materials exported across the globe. The nation is among the world’s leading producer of perishable goods; the agriculture sector stands as a pillar for the economy as the largest share of the gross domestic product is contributed by this sector. India is a unique country with a population of 1.3 billion, the preponderance segment of the population depends on agriculture sector for livelihood; The main objective behind the formulation of Agricultural Export Policy is to encourage producers to produce more amount of agricultural products which can be exported to other nations across the globe and hence increase the gross domestic product and double farmers’ income by 2022.

The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Honorable Prime Minister approved the Agriculture Export Policy in the year 2018. Exports of agricultural products would play a pivotal role in the growth of the economy; to provide growth in agricultural exports, the Government has come out with a comprehensive policy aimed at augmenting the agricultural exports and connecting Indian farmers and agricultural products with the global market.

All strategies related to the agriculture sector in India are planned and actualized by an intricate arrangement of organizations. State legislature plays a significant role in formulating policies in respect of agriculture sector, but the central government has an upper hand when it comes to the policies which affect the country at whole; funds are allocated by the central government to the state government for the development of each and aspect of the society. At the central level, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has responsibility for agricultural policy, many other ministries and agencies have important roles. There is, therefore, significant risk of fragmentation, overlapping and unclear attribution of responsibilities.

The main and broad objectives are as follows:

  • Firstly, to increase the exports and reach US $ 60 plus billion by the year 2022.
  • To diversify the exports in the terms of a variety of supplies, to target as many markets possible and enhancement of international relations and boosting the economy.
  • To promote novel, indigenous, organic, ethnic, traditional and non-traditional products across the global channels.
  • To strive to double India’s share in agricultural exports by integrating with the global value chain at the earliest and enable farmers to explore international markets.

Salient features

The above-mentioned policy has some salient features, categorised under two heads; Strategic and operational, the explanation of the said heads is as follows-

Strategic features-

  1. Policy measures: Under this salient feature, both the public and private stakeholders highlighted the amendments which were necessary to increase exports of the country; the ambit of this measure in quite broad and further include general and commodity-specific measures. This feature is imperative for the overall growth of the economy as it covers both private and public stakeholders.
  2. Infrastructural logistics: Good infrastructure irrespective of any field adds value to the business; the main reason behind having a good infrastructure is smoothness in trade facilitation. Infrastructure in agricultural business involves pre-harvest and post-harvest handling facilities, storage & distribution, processing facilities, roads and world class exit point infrastructure at ports facilitating swift trade. Agricultural exports are determined by supply side factors, food security, processing facilities, infrastructure bottlenecks and several regulations. This involves multiple ministries and state departments. Strategic and operational synergy across ministries will be key to boosting productivity and quality.
  3. Holistic approach to boost exports: the said policy will promote the organizations with reference to agricultural production to make take necessary steps to promote exports on international platform.
  4. Greater involvement of State Governments in Agriculture Exports: Every state government can formulate agriculture policies according to their suitability. The Central Government make policies for the whole country and thus have an upper hand when it comes to formulation of policy.

Operational features-

  1. Focus on clusters: There is a need to develop and set up an institutional system for powerful inclusion and commitment of little and medium farmers for a whole worth chain as gathering enterprise(s) inside the bunch of towns at the square level for select produce(s). This will assist with acknowledging real advantage and strengthening of the cultivating network to twofold their pay through the whole worth chain.
  2. Promoting value added exports: Promotion of a product impacts the sale of the product. The government aims to promote indigenous products at an international platform to attract more foreign investment and increase the export of the Indian farmers. The government also encourages for new products and hence placing importance to research and development.
  3. Marketing and Promotion of Brand India: A product when represented at an international platform represents the whole country; the government promotes products with good quality and set standards in accordance with those qualities.
  4. Attract private investments into production and processing: The agriculture export policy, recently drawn up by the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, is poised to add momentum to this pace of growth. Designed with the aim of easing trade restrictions, establishing clusters, encouraging small businesses and private sector participation, it is poised to shape a more stable regime.
  5. Establishment of Strong Quality Regimen: The role of FSSAI, EIC, plant and animal quarantine and different Commodity Boards in setting standards, enforcing such standards and a robust accreditation and certification arrangement to identify export worthy establishments will be facilitating further exports. As the major focus of our country is towards setting up of a quality system for smooth governance, the centre will focus more on research and development.

Constitutional basis

Under the Constitution agriculture is a state subject; the central government formulates a plan on one ground that this subject is of national significance. The central government both acts as a policy-making authority and policy implementing authority. The Indian Constitution has provided the state with the powers to delegate in certain matters. Every state gets fund to raise and improve the standards of the occupation. As government both at central level and state level are involved it results in complexity at times; these policies are not only central or state subject, they also involve other ministries and local government (herein referred as Panchayat). From 1950 until 2014 India’s Planning Commission, a senior body chaired by the prime minister, outlined national plans and policy priorities.

In the year 1951, the first five-year plan was launched with to rehabilitate refugees, agricultural development, and self-sufficiency in food along with controlling inflation; till the year 2015, a chain of these plans were in operation. Planning Commission was replaced by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog in the year 2015; NITI Aayog aims to foster great involvement of government at the state level. The last five-year plan was the 12th plan and served for a period from 2012 to 2015.

Constitution of India rests powers and responsibilities in the hand of Finance Commission of India regarding the balance between taxation power and expenditure responsibilities among the government at both central level and state level. The recommendations of the fourteenth Finance Commission cover a five-year period from 2015. The central government accepted the Commission’s recommendation about increasing the share of the states in the pool of central taxes that can be divided between the centre and the states, the so-called devolution of taxes (Government of India, 2016). This would give the states greater autonomy in designing and financing schemes according to local priorities.

Critical analysis                                                                              

The agriculture sector is important as 65% of this population is dependent on them for their livelihood, to regulate trade smoothly; the government on both state level and central level have to formulate policies. The objective behind the introduction of agriculture policy of 2018 is to double the income of the farmers by the year 2022. The consequent policy approach has evolved over a while; the said policy is targeting larger market strength. According to ministry during 2018-19* crop year, food grain production is estimated at record 283.37 million tonnes. In 2019-20, Government of India is targeting food grain production of 291.1 million tonnes. Milk production was estimated at 176.3 million tonnes during FY18, while meat production was 7.4 million tonnes. Such a large number of markets need to be regulated by a mechanism.

NITI Aayog, the policy “think tank” of the central government, provided in April 2017 an analysis of recent and projected expenditures. It suggested that expenditure on agriculture (including livestock, forestry, fishery, and rural development) could more than double from 2015-16 to 2019-20 in nominal terms. The food subsidy might increase by about 25%, while the fertilizer subsidy might decline slightly, in both cases taking into account better targeting of the expenditure. Since total expenditure by the central government (revenue and capital) might increase by about 58% between 2015-16 and 2019-20, the share of the food subsidy and particularly the share of the fertilizer subsidy in total expenditure might decline over that period.

The policy seeks to diversify the country export basket and destinations, by boosting high value and value- added agricultural exports, including focus on perishables. Currently, rice, meat and marine products account for more than 50 per cent of Indian agriculture exports. To accomplish this, the administration intends to give an institutional component that would seek after market get to, handle hindrances and manage sterile and phytosanitary issues that surface now and again.

Conclusion

The Policy targets tending to an entire scope of issues which might drive India into the top section of horticultural fares. It has frequently been perceived that Integration in the worldwide worth chain is one of the most certain techniques for embracing the best agrarian practices alongside accomplishing efficiency gains and cost intensity. The target of multiplying the rancher’s pay will perpetually require elevated levels of pay just as improving in the nourishment esteem chain.

The farming area in India is relied upon to create better energy in the following barely any years because of expanded interests in agrarian foundation, for example, water system offices, warehousing and cold stockpiling. Moreover, the developing utilization of hereditarily changed harvests will probably improve the yield for Indian ranchers. India is relied upon to act naturally adequate in beats in the coming barely any years because of deliberate endeavours of researchers to get early-developing assortments of heartbeats and the expansion in the least help cost.

Author: Pratyush Arora from The Northcap University, Gurugram.

Editor: Tamanna Gupta from RGNUL, Patiala.

Analysis: UN World Water Development Report

Reading time: 8-10 minutes.

UN World Water Development Report 2020 or UN-WWDR, compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in association with the inter-agency mechanism on water and cleanliness issues called the UN-Water, was released online on 22nd March, 2020, which is observed as International World Water Day every year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the launch event which was scheduled to be held in Geneva on 23rd March, 2020 has been postponed.

UN-WWDR is the official, theme-based “flagship report” of the United Nations Organization that engages in analysis of the state and conditions of the global freshwater resources, projecting an extensive and authentic representation of the same. Its primary objective is to provide an apparatus to decision-makers for the preparation and execution of the sustainable water policies. Originally conceived as a triennial report in 1998 by the Sixth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development that recognised the necessity for a regular and periodic evaluation of the international freshwater resources, the first report was released in the year 2003.

For the first four editions, the report was published triennially when in 2012, the decision was taken for the revision and improvisation of the report, making it more fact-intensive, concise yet all comprehensive in nature with a focussed thematic approach to its readers. The annual publication of the report commenced from 2014 and is continuing till date.

Significance of World Water Development Report 2020

The World Water Development Report 2020, titled and themed “Water and Climate Change”, focuses on the impact of sustainable conservation and management of the limited global water resources on tackling climate change issues faced by the entire world. There is a direct correlation of climate change with water, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Water is an essential need of human beings, and its unceasing exploitation because of factors emanating out of climate change crisis can lead to grave deprivation of “basic human rights to water and sanitation” for possibly billions of people worldwide. The rapid changes which are been observed in the water cycle poses jeopardies for “energy production, food security, human health, economic development and poverty reduction, thus seriously jeopardizing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Keeping in perspective the aforementioned issues, the UN-WWDR 2020 emphasizes on the difficulties, prospects and probable responses to climate change, “in terms of adaptation, mitigation and improved resilience that can be addressed through improving water management.”

Salient features of the report

The major and key takeaways, based on the “Main Messages” of UN-WWDR 2020 released simultaneously, can be enlisted as follows:

  1. Water is regarded as “climate connector” that facilitates enhanced association and harmonization across major goals for “sustainable development (2030 Agenda and its SDGs), climate change (Paris Agreement) and disaster risk reduction (Sendai Framework).” The report proposes that the interlinkage of these three could help incorporate the climate change issues into other SDGs.
  2. Major emphasis has been given on the importance of corresponding policies of “Adaptation and Mitigation” for the supervision and reduction in the perils of climate change through water. Greenhouse gas emissions could actually be decreased by the accurate implementation of “water efficiency measures” which have an unswerving impact on energy savings.
  3. It has been well accepted that water-related plans are mostly included merely as policy statements or wide strategies, and are often kept out of the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs which are submitted by individual countries in pursuance of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  4. The gross insufficiency of financial funds for the water intervention plans such as those for management, sanitation and supply and the necessity of increased attention from different governments across the world is well recognised in the report. In the ‘Main Messages’ released for the report, it is mentioned that “although there are significant sources available from the Climate Change funds, most of that has been earmarked for mitigation, and has thus not been available for financing water interventions which have generally been considered from an adaptation perspective.”
  5. The need of technological innovation has been recognised in the report, which proposes the promotion of advanced research and development and speeding up the execution of the already existing knowledge and technology across the world. Scientific technologies like satellite-based earth observation and remote sensing, when supported with “national statistics, field-based observations and numerical simulation models” can greatly contribute to the comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts related to water.
  6. The report embraced the measures of adaptation and mitigation through water as a “triple win proposal” as firstly, it helps contribute towards the achievement of SDGs. Secondly, there is an explicit addressal of the issues of climate change. Lastly, there is a discussion on the protection of basic human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, and it is valuable for the maintainable supervision of water resources.

WWDR on the situation of India

According to the World Water Development Report ’20, by the year 2050, more than 52% of the human population will be living in water-stressed regions. The worst affected would be the mountainous, tropical, island and extreme north-located nations. India, home to more than a dozen Himalayan states and bisected into two halves by the Tropic of Cancer should definitely be alarmed with the findings of the report. The report also estimated the extreme impoverishment of a 100 million people by 2030. India Spend, an India based “agency of record”, reported in 2017 that how over 7 states in the country are already affected by the erratic variations in the rain cycle, and this is impacting industries like fisheries and agriculture. It was also reported by them in December 2019 that out of 181 countries, India is the fifth-most susceptible nation to the dangers of climate change.

Regional cooperation has been mentioned in the report, particularly by analysis of NDCs of various countries. As far as India’s NDCs are concerned, they do contain references for improvisation of wastewater treatment and ramping up of water supply to urban areas.

According to the report, in the last 100 years, there has been a six-fold increase in the water consumption levels across the world, and there is a steady one percent increment in the same per year. Additionally, it was also reported that how poor water management aggravates the climate change problems. The report also estimated that across the world, approximately 80% to 90% of wastewater is discharged untreated into the environment.

The tropical zones are predicted to be affected the worst in future because of these climate change issues since majority of the developing world countries are located here. These countries, with their maximum population being economically poor and vulnerable and the absence of suitable responsive mechanism, are most vulnerable. The effects of climate change on the accessibility of water resources over time affect the impoverished excessively through its impact on sectors like “agriculture, fisheries, health and natural disasters”, the report noted. Amongst these, the main sufferers are women and girls, who get to face discrimination in the access to water, cleanness and hygiene, widening gender disparities and risking their health, well‐being, incomes and education.

Abou Amani, the coordinator of the report observed, “Women in developing countries play a key role in water management. Women will be among those people who will be impacted by the issue of water stress.” In another study undertaken by IndiaSpend in March 2020, similar results were obtained in the Himalayan towns across four countries, including India. The UN report also added that the indigenous people and tribes are also quite susceptible to effects of climate change as their systems, totally adaptable to environment, in all probability will not be able to resist the external damages.

While financing has been accepted as a key feature in this year’s report, it was well acknowledged by Amani, “Developing countries are facing issues related to lack of investment. They have the lack of means to mobilise the resources.” India, being a developing country, is privy to all these vulnerabilities and should strive for better, far-fetched and cutting edged policies and take up this cause with more seriousness.

Schemes regarding water resources in India

The apex policy ‘think tank’ of the Government of India, NITI Aayog, has already acknowledged that the country is in the midst of a major water crisis and if precautionary steps are not taken with earnestness, the demand for drinkable water will exceed its supply by the year 2030. Moreover, the Think Tank in its Composite Water Management Index 2.0 released in 2019 sensitised about the surge in excessive and inefficient usage of water resources. As a response to the mounting water crisis in the country, a combined Ministry of Jal Shakti was introduced by the NDA-2 government in May 2019. The government also focuses on “Nal se Jal” scheme which intends to deliver potable water to every rural household by the year 2024.

The proposal to revise and update the National Water Policy with crucial amendments in the water governance structure and regulatory framework has been passed by the government. The last NWP or National Water Policy was introduced by the UPA-II government in the year 2012. After 8 years, there are definitely substantial changes which need to be catered to and “prioritization of the water usage needs to be defined”. There are also plans to establish a National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency under the new NWP.

Analysing the recent schemes rolled out by the present regime, it can be concluded that the government of the day is majorly focusing on ground water and rain water harvesting. Government of India has enunciated Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal), a Rs. 6000 Crore Central Sector Scheme, for “sustainable management of ground water resources with community participation in water stressed blocks of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh”.

NITI Aayog in 2018 also released a “Strategy for New India @75” which enlisted and elucidated the objectives of 2022-23. In the same document, the section on “water resources” laid down the objectives “to facilitate water security so as to safeguard suitable availability of water for life, agriculture, economic development, ecology and environment.” However, the document was a failure because there was not much novelty and it was a mere repetition of already failed ideas and did not recognise the key priority areas.

Similarly, Jan Shakti Ministry has got limited role to play when it comes to handling of the water crisis situation in the country without the participation of the people. The Groundwater (Sustainable Management) Bill, 2017, which was drafted by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, has completely gone off the table and is forgotten. What’s required for tackling India’s water issues are the already prevailing knowledge, requisite technology and current funds. NITI Aayog has prescribed only an extension of past failed policies. There is a need for India’s water establishment to accept that the strategy pursued so far has not worked. Only then can a realistic vision emerge.

Conclusion

As Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has rightly observed, “Water does not need to be a problem – it can be part of the solution [to the climate crisis]. Water can support efforts to both reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.”

This is the general pervasive rationale present throughout the entire World Water Development Report of the present year. It aptly points out the requirement for investing concerted efforts to address rising water stress and enhancing the efficiency of water usage in sectors like agriculture and industries. It delves into the aspect of regional cooperation and plans out the methods by which different continents and geographical blocs of the world can contribute to the cause. The report does not only merely propose a namesake argument about the importance of science and technology in water management issues but also suggests methods to boost the advantages practically.

More than anything, it calls for the inevitability of adequate investments and funding for the suitable implementation of the proposals offered. In the process, the possibility of human rights violations and the impact of possible events arising out of climate change convulsions on the developing, poor economies has also been appropriately represented in the report.  In and all, it offers pragmatic solutions and showcases a comprehensive association of both the burning issues of global interest that are there to vex the world for the coming decades. 

Author: Dhawal Srivastava from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala.

Editor: Sweksha from Law Centre-II, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.

Analysis: National Nutrition Mission

Reading time: 6-8 minutes.

The National Nutrition Mission or POSHAN Abhiyaan is Government of India’s flagship program to improve nutritional standards among children and women. In September 2017, NITI Aayog, entrusted with the task of closely monitoring the POSHAN Abhiyaan, released the National Nutrition strategy. The recommendations in the strategy were then incorporated into the nutrition mission.

NITI Aayog has the duty to submit implementation status reports of POSHAN Abhiyaan every six months to the PMO. The first bi-annual report was prepared and presented at third National Nutrition Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges. The National Council has met three times in 2018.

The program was launched by the Prime Minister on 8th March in Rajasthan. The main goal of the program was to induce improvement in children, adolescents and women. The program aimed at preventing and reducing stunting, malnutrition. anemia and low birth weight.

Initially the program was meant to be launched in a phased manner starting with districts, but then opted for a Pan India mission. The meeting of the Executive Committee for POSHAN Abhiyaan was held to deliberate on the working of the program. The Committee declared that the Government of India shall release a detailed annual report on the status of nutrition in the country.

Need for this mission

Even though there were many such nutritional programs in existence, the government decided to roll out another one as they saw a lack of synergy and failure to improve the nutritional standards. The mission decided to converge existing schemes in order to bring about effectiveness.

The program ensured convergence of various schemes such as Anganwadi Services (AS), Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAGs), Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM) and many others. Convergence at Centre is being achieved through formation of the National Council (NC) for Nutrition and the Executive Committee (EC) for POSHAN Abhiyaan.

Both NC and EC draw members from all the stakeholders of the Abhiyaan. The National Council headed by the vice-chairman of NITI Aayog has been constituted for policy direction, effective review and coordination.

Another body called the Executive Committee (EC) under the Chairmanship of Secretary, MoWCD has been constituted to provide direction, policy and guidance for implementation of various programmes/schemes under POSHAN Abhiyaan.

A Convergence Action Plan at State, District and Block level for better implementation of the programme were also implemented. Convergence Meetings are held every quarter to review and take forward the implementation as per the Plan.

Financial outlay

An amount of Rs. 9046.17 crores was set aside to be expended for three years commencing from 2017-18. The 50 percent of the mission will be supported by Government Budgetary Support and the other 50 percent by IBRD or other MDB.

Government budgetary support would be in the ratio 60:40 between Centre and States/Union Territories with legislature, 90:10 for North Eastern Regions and Himalayan States and 100% for Union Territories without legislature. The estimated share of the Government of India over a period of three years would be Rs. 2849.54 crores.

NNM: Features

The main features of the proposal include introducing

  • A robust convergence mechanism,
  • Social Audits,
  • setting-up Nutrition Resource Centres,
  • involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities, among others and much more.

 The program was aimed to reach an approximate ten crore people and all districts were to be covered by 2020. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization report on State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, it is estimated that 190.7 million (14.5%) people were undernourished in India during 2014-2016.

UNICEF statistics indicate that 20 percent of Indian children under five years of age suffer from wasting due to acute undernutrition and undernutrition is more common for children of mothers who are undernourished themselves (i.e. body mass index below 18.5) than for children whose mothers are not undernourished.

The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS4) carried out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reported the prevalence of anaemia as 58.6, 50.4 and 22.7 per cent, respectively, among children aged 6-59 months, pregnant women aged 15-49 yr and men aged 15-49 yr.

NNA: Achievements

This flagship program has not been able to achieve its objectives 3 years into the mission. According to the information given by Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, a total of ₹4,283 crores was disbursed by the Centre to different States and Union Territories.

During 2019-20, even though funds were released for 19 States, only 12 of them had used less than a third of the funds released in the previous two years. The best performers were Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. The worst performers were Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand and Assam.

With only less than 30 percent of the allocated funds being put to use, the program still has a long way to go in order to achieve its objectives. The Program which came into being for better delivery and implementation of schemes for improving nutritional intake has not made any significant developments.

Conclusion

The Central Government and the State Governments have to ensure better strategy and make sure that these services reach the poorest of the poor. Lack of accountability and no proper supervision has led this flagship mission to falter. The initial targets set forth when the program was implemented is yet to be achieved.

The Government must also seek the help of various Non -Governmental organisations and policy institutes and approach the epidemic of malnutrition in a data driven manner. Women and children form the backbone of our society and their adverse health can affect the country’s growth and economic standards.

Therefore, it is absolutely essential that the government ensures proper implementation of this nutrition mission.

Author: Shamila Jibin from National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Ernakulam.

Editor: Tressa Maria Joseph from Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.