The Centre accorded the highest priority for health and nutrition and the latest move to provide nutritious breakfast to school children announced in the new National Education Policy 2020 is a welcome step, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday.
The recently announced education policy has a provision to provide a nutritious breakfast to school children, the Vice President said inaugurating a virtual consultation ”Science for Resilient Food, Nutrition and Livelihoods: contemporary challenges” organised by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation here.
“This (announcement in the NEP) is a welcome step but much more needs to be done in the context of pandemic and problems of hunger,” he added.
Among the Centre”s health and nutrition initiatives are the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana which has benefited more than 98.16 lakh women, the POSHAN Abhiyan, and rotavirus vaccination, he noted.
On farming techniques, the Vice President said, India is a treasure trove of traditional wisdom in the field of agriculture.
“Instead of rejecting this wisdom as archaic, we must make every attempt to integrate the best of these techniques into agriculture along with modern technology.”
Food, agriculture and trade policies have to be constantly reviewed and updated to suit the times, he said.
“We must step up investments in improved storage, processing and preservation to retain the nutritional value of food products, rather than investing in highly processed foods,” the Vice-President said.
There is an imminent need to make agriculture more efficient, resilient, profitable and productive, in order to ensure food and nutrition security to millions. Also, pre- harvest and post-harvest losses have to be minimised, he emphasised.
Pointing out that the need to invest in resilient communities, equipped to face these challenges has never been more urgent than today, Naidu called for steps to “build resilient individuals, households as well as communities.”
Healthy, socially connected, prepared people are better able to withstand, manage, and recover from disasters.
He said India has made significant strides in reducing hunger, undernourishment, infant mortality and stunting among children in recent years and the Government of India has accorded the highest priority to combating health and nutrition problems in the country.
Lauding Professor Swaminathan as the “Encyclopedia of Agriculture,” the Vice President said “It is heartening to note that MSSRF founded by Swaminathan aims to accelerate the use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development to improve the lives and livelihoods of communities.