New Delhi: Describing the Indian farmers, farm scientists and Aanganwadi and Aasha workers as the backbone in the country’s fight against malnutrition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that it is because of contribution by these people that India has waged a strong war against malnutrition amid the Corona pandemic.
Speaking after releasing a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination to mark the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), at a virtual ceremony, the PM said, ’’the farmers, food and agriculture scientists, ASHA workers and Anganwadi workers are the backbone of India’s fight against malnutrition. It is because of efforts of these people that India has been able to wage a war against malnutrition amid the Covid pandemic.’’
Describing it as a ‘significant day’ for the Food and Agriculture Organisation, PM said ,’’today this important institution has completed 75 years. During this period, FAO has played an important role in increasing agricultural productivity, eliminating hunger and increasing nutrition levels not just in India but also across the world. The Rs 75 commemorative coin released today is India’s way of honouring the efforts of FAO.
Speaking on FAO’s World Food Programme which won the Nobel Peace Prize 2020, the PM hailed Dr Binay Ranjan Sen, who was the Director General of FAO during 1956-1967, for his efforts and said, “FAO’s World Food Programme winning the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 is a big achievement for India. India is happy that our contribution and association with FAO has been historic. We all know that this programme was established under the leadership of Dr Sen when he served as the Director-General of FAO.
Dr Sen experienced from close quarters the pain of drought and hunger. The work done by him as a policy maker continues to be useful today.’’
Speaking about India’s fight against malnutrition, the PM said that over the years, several departments took initiatives to reduce malnutrition in the country but their efforts were limited and lacked direction.
‘’Because of factors like lack of information, education, hygiene and drinking water, we could not get desired results. As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I got the opportunity to work on initiatives to reduce malnutrition. Equipped with these experiences, I started work afresh on making efforts to remove malnutrition when I got a chance to serve the country in 2014,’’ the PM said.
Stressing on importance of an integrated and holistic approach toward solving these problems, the PM said that change was brought around by working on several missions to improve the situation and eradicate hunger and malnutrition.
“On one hand, the National Nutrition Mission commenced and on the other hand we started working on the factors responsible for malnutrition. Swachh Bharat Mission is one of that measure with Mission Indradhanush,” he said.
The PM said that increasing coordination between India and FAO will provide speed to our fight against malnutrition.
Talking about India’s commitment to ensuring the Food Security Act translated into practice during the coronavirus pandemic, emphasising on the importance of Minimum Support Price (MSP) and government purchase for ensuring food security, the PM said,’’once farmers of India become strong and their incomes increase, the mission against malnutrition will also garner strength.’’
On this occasion, the Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation 17 recently developed biofortified varieties of eight crops.