Government promotes self-sufficiency in nutrition and empowerment of women | Lucknow News

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With 77.7% of people living in rural areas, Uttar Pradesh has the highest rural population in India, according to the 2011 census. Agriculture is the main source of income for this population, making it makes an important group in the dynamics of social and economic development.
Women are the backbone of our rural economy and are responsible for around 60% of food production. Empowerment of women has been a key subject in Yogi Adityanath’s development agenda since he took office in 2017. Women are seen as catalysts for development and it is for the same reason that the government of the The state consistently and systematically advances initiatives that focus on women.
Strategies to empower women farmers cannot be universal. Focusing on Women Farmers and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) will help increase food production and gender equality and is in line with Prime Minister Narendra’s bugle call “Vocal For Local” and “Atmanirbhar Poshan” Modi.
He recently laid the foundation stone for 202 nutritional supplement manufacturing units in Prayagraj. These units will be fully funded by self-help groups and will be built at a cost of around Rs 1 crore for one unit.
They will provide supplemental nutrition (take-home ration) as part of the Integrated Child Development Program (ICDS) in 600 blocks of the state, which is a big step towards empowering women and boosting the local economy. Nutrition is essential for women’s health, and the take-home ration is provided to children aged 6 months to 3 years, as well as pregnant and lactating women.
Previously, the take-out ration service was provided by a centralized body, through which different companies provided the take-out ration which was then distributed by the Anganwadi workers. With the involvement of too many people, the quality and quantity of the ration provided to beneficiaries was compromised. Most of the time, the ration would never reach the recipient.
But now the supplemental nutrition program worth around Rs 4,000 crore will be run entirely locally by women from self-help groups who will provide nutritional supplements to the district. SHG members being the last mile officials are known to have transformed the health and nutrition landscape and the decision to give them the reins of power is to be applauded.
By handing over responsibility for the manufacturing units of nutritional supplements to SHGs, an unprecedented paradigm shift in the economy has been brought about by multinational corporations (MNCs).
Women in rural areas will now prepare the nutritional supplement and the raw material will also be purchased in the villages. The government will also build warehouses for the storage of nutritional supplements, which will empower millions of women in the state and pave the way for the economic development of the villages.
The state government will also build additional nutritional product manufacturing units at each district and block level. Production has already started in the units of Fatehpur and Unnao and the women in these districts are reaping the benefits.
The World Hunger Index (2020) – which is calculated on the basis of the total undernourishment of the population, stunting among children, wasting and infant mortality – places India at 94th place out of 107 countries. The take-home ration managed by SHGs will help the state fight malnutrition such as wasting (low weight for age) and stunting (low height for age).
(The writer is the winner of a popular culinary reality show and a renowned chef)

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