In 5 States, Tata Trusts Aim To Bring Down Malnutrition By 25%

The pilot project will help understand whether digitisation is improving delivery services of Anganwadi Workers (AWW) to the community.

New Delhi: Tata Trusts are intensifying work on improving maternal and infant nutrition besides large scale food fortification, aiming to reduce incidence of malnutrition by 25 per cent in five states in the next five years.

The trusts, which received grants of around Rs 50 crore from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the past two years, are currently carrying out various programmes in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tripura in co-operation with the state governments.

Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and Jamsetji Tata Trust have been focusing on various programmes, including maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and large scale food fortification, along with setting up platform for policy and research on nutrition and agricultural development in India.

A Tata Trusts spokesperson said by working with governments of the five states, the trusts “aim to bring down the incidence of malnutrition by 25 per cent in the next five years, thus impacting morbidity and mortality rates.”

The annual investment of Tata Trusts itself in this programme is already close to Rs 28 crore, while various governments have added to this in their respective states.

“In case the trusts receive any funding, earmarked for this area, it goes into this overall programme,” the spokesperson added.

In September and November 2016, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust had received a total grant of USD 73,52,987 from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while Jamsetji Tata Trust was granted USD 10,00,000 in November 2015.

Highlighting progress made by the trusts, which own two-third of stock holding of Tata Sons — promoter of major operating Tata companies, the spokesperson said since 2012, they have been piloting and innovating several strategies to reduce the burden and incidence of malnutrition.

Moreover, the trusts also provided key technical inputs to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) based on which Food Fortification Standards for five staple foods — salt, oil, milk, wheat and rice — have been released.

The trusts are running pilots with various state governments to make fortified wheat flour and rice available in the PDS on a trial basis, the spokesperson added.

Besides, the trusts are working with various entities, like the National Institute of Nutrition and state governments to implement use of double fortified salt (containing iron and iodine) in mid-day meals in schools.

They are also working jointly with the Ministry of Women and Child Development on a pilot in select districts of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for digitising Integrated Child Development System (ICDS).

“The pilot will help understand whether digitisation is improving delivery services of Anganwadi Workers (AWW) to the community,” the spokesperson said.

The aim of the project is to provide real time data to policy makers who can then make quick informed decisions as preventive measures to enable proactive response to endemics and disaster management.

The platform will also be piloted with an Aadhaar-based identification, and pilot a model for direct benefit transfer of certain services like take home rations in cash rather than in-kind distribution, the spokesperson added.

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