Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today announced the launch of ‘Nutrition Mission’ that aims to abolish malnutrition in the state in the next 10 years.
“I will be happy if this can be done in five years. We must have clear target to achieve our goal,” he said while addressing a day-long symposium on ‘Child Nutrition: Invest in the first 1,000 days of life’ here this afternoon.
The AP Legislative Assembly and the UNICEF jointly organised the symposium to “generate awareness and elicit action” in the state towards elimination of under-nutrition.
The Chief Minister said an Assembly Forum (with MLAs) would also be created to discuss the issue and take up awareness programmes in each constituency.
“All departments will coordinate their activities and programmes, and address the shortfalls so that malnutrition can be abolished in a time-bound manner. Our immediate target is to control severe malnutrition in the next six months,” Chandrababu said, and asked the UNICEF to join as a partner in the ‘Nutrition Mission’.
The Chief Minister said that AP has demographic advantage with a majority of young population but malnutrition remained a major problem.
“The state’s population is not growing. Our current population is 4.95 crore. It is either stagnating or declining,” he said, adding, “We are now tracking eligible couples and closely monitoring the indicators. We are also tracking pregnant women to ensure institutional deliveries.”
Chandrababu also led AP Legislative Council Chairman A Chakrapani, Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, ministers K Mrinalini and P Sujatha in signing a pledge to address malnutrition.
“I commit to a malnutrition-free AP by giving every child the best start in life, focusing on the first 1,000 days,” the pledge read.
UNICEF Child Development and Nutrition chief for India Saba Mebrahtu, UNICEF India representative Louis-Georges Arsenault, Assembly Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad, CII AP chairman G S Shiv Kumar, legislators and others attended the event.