1. The Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) will be restructured in a way that allows for flexibility, with a special focus on pregnant and lactating mothers and children under three (although under 2 would be better).
3. A nationwide information, education and communication campaign would be launched to address issues of status of women, the care of pregnant mothers and children under two, breastfeeding, and the importance of balanced nutrition, health, hygiene and sanitation. The campaign would involve people’s representatives, civil society activists, the media and leaders of the entertainment industry (what would be different about this campaign?)
These action points are very good, but I have real worries about delivery, enforcement and accountability (as you can see from my comments in parentheses).
Several of the participants in the meeting called for things that would help: a National Nutrition Mission Authority, the assignment of the ICDS to a mission mode programme, the creation of new institutional arrangements with executive authority under the Nutrition Council, the establishment of a Policy Coordination Unit and new nutrition surveillance systems.
These would all have helped convince us that delivery, enforcement and accountability were not being left to chance and yet they were not mentioned in the action points.
So does this meeting set in train action or protraction on tackling undernutrition in India? I very much hope it is the former.
In 3 months time the picture should become clearer.