Rural development programs have been at the heart of India’s welfare policy since Independence was accorded to us. While this is not new, the take on one of India’s most pressing concerns is a novel program that strikes the very core of that issue – malnutrition. Nutrition smart villages have been devised by the government as an answer to this problem which has been widely documented the world over for decades now. India has been clubbed with countries in Africa as well as poor and under developed South East Asian countries when it comes to the uneven distribution of food and ingredients.
The concept of nutrition smart villages are the answer to a larger problem. Before we understand exactly what the government has envisioned, we need to throw light on the fact that rural development and welfare programs in the recent past have laid emphasis on nutrition and health more than other issues. This also includes an element of education since education missions are poised to keep children in classrooms using the free school lunches distributed at government schools. This is also a means for combating poverty.
Here is the impact expected from the nutrition smart villages:
- Nutritional Awareness: The awareness around nutrition and what kinds and combinations of food would lead to a good health, is what these villages are trying to build. With this kind of awareness, as well as awareness about anemia and other such diseases that arise from lack of nutrients, iron and vitamins, one can hope that there will be greater emphasis on eating well and eating right.
- Farming Practices: This would be a major change that the authorities would expect when there is greater awareness of what is good and how much of it is good. This would have a definite impact of what the communities grow and how they make optimum use of land and other resources as well.
- Behaviour within Communities: The nutrition smart villages are looking towards creating changed behaviour on the basis of the above two points so as to impact better farming and eating habits.