Current Affairs for today- 19th November 2019

GS Paper II, Paper III

Odisha’s strides in nutrition


Odisha, which is one of the Empowered Action Group States, or eight socioeconomically backward States of India, has done remarkably well in health and nutrition outcomes over the past two decades and the author elaborates on both the far ends of Odisha’s strides.

What does the author say?

With the extended financing, policy support, robust leadership, and innovations in the delivery of services, Odisha has been doing well on the following fronts:

  • Infant mortality rate has significantly declined.
  • Its under-five mortality rate almost halved in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 from NFHS-3.
  • Under-five aged children have shown a steep decline in their stunting.
  • Anaemia in children and pregnant women has also decreased since NFHS-3.
  • Antenatal care and institutional deliveries have shown good improvement.

Nutritional interventions

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), “Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs. Good nutrition – an adequate, well-balanced diet combined with regular physical activity – is a cornerstone of good health”.

It plays a critical part in health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.

  • Nutrition has a strong correlation to health and is integral to growth and development.
  • Timely nutritional interventions of breastfeeding, age-appropriate complementary feeding, Vitamin A supplementation, and full immunisation are effective in improving nutrition outcomes in children.
  • In terms of performing well amongst the most socioeconomically backward states, Odisha has performed better than other Empowered Action Group States in reducing undernutrition, and is now an exemplar to the other states for its rationale in setting up its nutrition action plan calling for convergence with health, nutrition, and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programmes.
  • Odisha has taken a decisive step of decentralizing the procurement of supplementary nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Services programme.
    This has led to fair access of services under the ICDS by all beneficiaries which is evident with the rise in the utilization of services by the beneficiaries under the ICDS as compared to a year ago.
  • There has been a marked improvement in supplementary nutrition received by pregnant and lactating women in NFHS-4 compared to NFHS-3.

Fallouts nevertheless

The negative pole of developmental indicators can be attributed to a lack of understanding and awareness about nutrition due to illiteracy.

  • Despite showing progress in child and maternal indicators, Odisha continues to be plagued by a high level of malnutrition.
  • There is stark variability across districts in stunting ranging from as high as 47.5% in Subarnapur to a low of 15.3% in Cuttack.
  • Wasting is high in 25 out of 30 districts. Almost half of the under-five children from tribal communities in Odisha are underweight, and 46% are stunted.
  • The infant mortality rate among tribals is the fourth highest in Odisha, after Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
  • Supplementary food given under the ICDS programme has shown a significant increase, but such minimum nutritious food is reduced as children grow older.
  • There is also a decline is children receiving timely complementary feeding.
  • Less than 10% of children receive a minimum acceptable diet.

Improving implementation

It is definitely a herculean task for Odisha to reach out remote and particularly vulnerable tribal groups which can play out repugnant to its way out of backwardness because it plays a major reason why tribal women and children are lagging behind the national average on nutrition and health indicators.

  • It is essential to improve the implementation of schemes and ensure last-mile delivery of nutrition services.
  • A part of the solution lies in setting up mini Anganwadi centres catering to far-flung tribal hamlets.
  • Raising awareness through community campaigns on the need for good nutrition would help improve utilisation of services by beneficiaries.
  • The International Food Policy Research Institute, in its research, called for inter-department engagements to accelerate the nutrition outcome in Odisha.
  • There is a need to improve sanitation, women’s education and underlying poverty, to be able to tackle undernutrition.
  • Underweight children should also be identified precisely so that the monitoring mechanism for improving service delivery can be strengthened.

The National Nutrition Mission sets an example with its inter-ministerial convergence and real-time monitoring mechanism for tracking each beneficiary and tackling malnutrition.

Also to note, November 19th is observed as the World Toilet Day.

GS Paper II, Paper III

Maternity scheme reaches only one-third of beneficiaries


According to the researchers, when the data obtained by extrapolating the numbers found under Right to Information (RTI), the implementation of PMMVY scheme shows it has benefitted just 31% eligible mothers.

What’s in the news?

A vital program to supplement and support the lactating mothers and pregnant women by compensating them for the loss of wags during their pregnancy has been able to reach to less than a third of the eligible beneficiaries.

Almost 61% of beneficiaries registered under the PMMVY scheme between April 2018 and July 2019 (38.3 lac out of the total 62.8 lac enrolled) received the full amount of Rs 6000/- promised.

What is PMMVY scheme?

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit programme implemented in all the districts of the country from January 1, 2017. It replaced the erstwhile Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) that was launched in 2010.


It is a centrally sponsored scheme under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Target audience

It is targeted only at women delivering their first child. A cash amount of Rs 5000/- is transferred to the bank account of the beneficiary in three instalments upon meeting certain conditions including early registration of pregnancy, having at least one ante-natal check-up and registration of childbirth and the completion of the first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family.

All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) who are pregnant with the first child on or after January 1, 2017 will fall under the ambit of the scheme, excluding those who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.

The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on an average, a woman gets Rs 6,000/-.

What is Janani Suraksha Yojana?

JSY is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme that aims at achieving safe motherhood intervention under the National Health Mission (NHM). It is main objective is to ensure reduction of maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery and avoid the dangers or uncertainty of the task of midwives.

The scheme provides for cash assistance to the poor and pregnant women giving birth in a government or accredited private health facility.

The PMMVY scheme is periodically checked for its expeditious and rightful implementation by using a web-based software application called the PMMVY-CAS (Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana- Common Application Software) that enables the central system to track the status of each beneficiary resulting in transparency, accountability and a better chance at grievance redressal.

Reason for exclusions:

  • Due to inadequate awareness, the study found that 50% of pregnant women and 57% of nursing women surveyed were eligible for the scheme.
  • Only 66% of the pregnant women and 69% of nursing women knew about the scheme and only about 8% and 23% of them received some benefits respectively.
  • The slew of documentation processes including the 23-page application form, mother-child protection card, Aadhar Card, husband’s Aadhar Card and bank passbook aside from linking their Aadhar card to their bank accounts.
  • The requirement to produce the husband’s Aadhar Card results in substantial loss of beneficiary women who may be living with men they are not married to, single mothers and those who stay at natal home.
  • Women must also have the address of their marital home on their Aadhar Card which often results in newly-weds being either being left out or forced to go from door-to-door when pregnant and needing rest and care.

GS Paper II

IMD World Talent Ranking


The 2019 World Talent Ranking has been released.

What is IMD World Talent Ranking?

This ranking is released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD). IMD is a business education school based in Switzerland.

The ranking accesses how countries develop, attract and retain the highly skilled professionals using the data based upon the performance in three main categories — investment and development (resources committed to cultivate homegrown human capital, appeal (ability to attract foreign talent and retain professionals in the local talent pool) and readiness (quantifies the skills and competencies available in the country).

In 2019, the chart is still topped by the European economies. Switzerland stands 1st, followed by Denmark at 2nd rank which it has been maintaining for seven years in a row now. Sweden, Austria and others follow. The top of the table is still led by European small and mid-sized economies. These countries share high levels of investments in education and highly superior quality of life.

Results for India

In Asia, Singapore (10th), Hong Kong (15th) and Taiwan (20th) achieve the best placements in terms of talent and competitiveness.

India is standing at the 59th position by slipping 6 places. India is also lagging behind fellow BRICs countries – China ranked 42nd, Russia (47th) and South Africa (50th).

Some of the reasons for the bad show of India this year is due to the low quality of life and expenditure on higher education and skill-added training, low quality of life, negative impact of brain drain and less retaining of young talents within the domestic limits. Bad quality of education, negligence in the health system and low participation of women in corporations and their respective contributions to the GDP growth hence faltering the economy.

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About the Author

Manasa Sastry

Masters degree holder in Forensic Science. Currently, a UPSC Aspirant helping fellow learners to sort their daily current affairs preparation. Loves to learn and help others. Music, dance and art are just a few of my many hobbies.

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