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Focus on nutrition of particularly vulnerable tribes

  • Published
    14th Apr, 2023

As poor nutritional status continues to remain an area of concern for the PVTGs, Odisha’s Jiban Sampark nutrition programme is trying to bring in improvements.

The nutritional status of PVTGs:

A study by the Asian Institute of Public Health and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), conducted in 2015 highlighted that;

  • Among children below the age of five years;
    • 32 per cent of the respondents were severely stunted,
    • 35 per cent were severely underweight and
    • 18 per cent severely wasted.
  • Every third child who was weighed at birth had a low birth weight.
  • Among women of reproductive age;
    • 38 per cent were underweight and
    • 54 per cent were found to be anaemic.
  • Anaemia poses a significant risk for maternal and child survival.

Who are PVTGs?

  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups and are determined by the given criteria:
    • They have declining or stagnant populations, low levels of literacy, pre-agricultural levels of technology and are economically backward.
    • They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
  • As per Census 2011, there are a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory (UT).
  • The categorization is done by the Ministry of Home Affairs and not by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

As per the census 2001:

  • There are 12 PVTGs having a population above 50,000.
  • The remaining groups have a population of 1000 or fewer.
  • The PVTG of Sahariyas has the highest population of 4, 50,217.
  • PVTGs of Sentinelese and Andamanese have a very small population of 39 and 43, respectively.
  • Odisha has the highest number of PVTGs in India while no PVTGs are found in the states of Punjab and Haryana.

About the initiative:
  • The state government has also initiated a focussed scheme named the Odisha PVTG Nutritional Improvement Programme (OPNIP) under the Odisha PVTG Empowerment and Livelihoods Improvement Programme (OPELIP).
  • OPNIP was initially started in three districts in phases in Malkanagiri, Rayagada and Kalahandi, and subsequently in nine others.
  • The major three interventions taken up under OPNIP were community-based creches for children of age 6 months to 3 years, spot-feeding centres for children aged 3-6 yrs and maternal spot-feeding centres for pregnant & lactating mothers.
  • Under this, the state departments are designed to prioritise the first 1,000 days of life when rapid growth and development take place.
  • Implementation:
    • Local PVTG self-help groups are entrusted with managing the OPNIP interventions, noted OPELIP.
  • Significance:
    • The move will strengthen community ownership and empowers local PVTG women’s collectives in managing such nutrition interventions in their community.

Currently, around 900 pregnant women and nursing mothers are receiving meals at 119 maternal spot feeding centres under OPNIP in the PVTG villages.

Related Government Interventions:

  • Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission:
    • In order to improve the socio-economic conditions of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), the Finance Minister stated that the Pradhan Mantri PVTG Development Mission has been launched.
    • This will saturate PVTG families and habitations with basic facilities such as safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, health and nutrition, road and telecom connectivity, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
  • Fund allocation: Rs.15, 000 crores will be made available to implement the Mission in the next three years under the Development Action Plan for the Scheduled Tribes.
  • The National Nutrition Mission: The mission aims to;
    • Reduce stunting by 2% annually.
    • Reduce undernutrition by 2% annually.
    • Reduce anaemia by 3% annually.
    • Reduce low birth weight by 2% annually.
    • The mission also encompasses mapping various other schemes related to malnutrition and enabling synergies through an ICT-based real-time monitoring system, robust convergence between the schemes, incentivising states and UTs for meeting the set targets and optimising Anganwadi centres’ functioning, apart from conducting social audits.
    • These other schemes include the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Janani Suraksha Yojana, Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG), Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, PDS, National Health Mission, etc.
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