The Ministry of Ayush and Ministry of Women and Child Development jointly organised a webinar on the importance of ‘Poshan Vatika’ for alleviation of malnutrition today.
The webinar was attended by Dr Munjpara Mahendrabhai, Minister of State for Ayush and Women and Child Development; Indevar Pandey, Secretary MoWCD; Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of Ayush; Prof Sanjeev Sharma, Vice Chancellor, National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA, Deemed to be University), Dr JLN Shastry, former CEO, NMPB, Prof. Meeta Kotecha, Pro-VC, NIA, Varalakshmi Venkatapathy, Policy Consultant and Independent Researcher; among others
The speakers discussed the importance of planting herbal plants in Aanganwadis, schools and kitchen gardens to ensure the easy availability of nutritious food and medicinal plants for pregnant and lactating women and children.
Addressing the webinar, Dr Munjpara said, “Poshan Abhiyaan aims to encourage convergence among various Ministries to tackle the problem of malnutrition. Plantation of nutritional and herbal trees under PoshanVatika would reduce external dependency and make communities Atmanirbhar for their nutritional security.” The Minister added that Poshan Vatika can play an important role in enhancing dietary diversity by providing micronutrients through constant supply of fruits and vegetables sufficient to meet the family’s requirements, which can prove to be a sustainable model for providing food security and diversity to combat malnutrition at the household or community level. He further said that rural areas have ample space and establishing a Nutri garden/PoshanVatikas is far simpler as farm families are involved in agriculture.
Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of Ayush, said that diet and nutrition have been explained in great details in Ayush systems. He said that his Ministry will collaborate with 3,000 Aanganwadis to take forward the campaign of establishing Poshan Vatikas and will also decide the nutritional and herbal trees that will be planted there. “If we pay attention to nutrition then there would be no need for medicines. If we do not pay attention to our diet, then even the medicines won’t work,” he said quoting a verse from a scripture.
Indevar Pandey, Secretary, MoWCD, said his ministry along with the Ministry of Ayush was at the forefront of making sure that the wellbeing of women and children was being taken care of.
“The main motive behind launching Poshan Abhiyaan is to address the problem of malnutrition. Aanganwaadi covers 50% of the people who are poor and don't get proper nutrition while Poshan Abhiyaan covers the other 50% who might not be poor but need information about proper nutrition,” he said.
Varalakshmi Venkatpathy, Policy Consultant and Independent Researcher, suggested that plants such as Moringa, Guava, Banana and Tulsi are great candidates to plant in a Poshan Vatika as they deal with problems of malnutrition in women and children.
In two very information packed presentations, Prof. Meeta Kotech and Dr. JLN Shastry shared both vision and implementation strategies of Ayurveda and the Ministry while underlining the possibilities of further enhancement and upscaling.