Govt announces merger of Supplementary Nutrition Programme & Poshan Abhiyan

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Nutrition has been highlighted as an integral component of the country’s health and wellbeing in the Union Budget 2021-22

The Union Budget presented by the Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman strongly positioned Health & Wellbeing as one of the 6 crucial pillars of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Healthy India, along with other sectors “will further strengthen the sankalp of Nation First”, she stated while presenting the Union Budget 2021-22 in the Parliament.

Nutrition has been highlighted as an integral component of the country’s health and wellbeing. To strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcome, the Union Budget has proposed merger of the Supplementary Nutrition Programme and the Poshan Abhiyan.

These will form the umbrella of Mission Poshan 2.0. An intensified strategy to improve nutritional outcomes across 112 Aspirational Districts has been proposed.

Speaking on the holistic nature of health, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare threw light on the Mission Poshan 2.0 which will strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach and outcomes. “This will merge supplementary nutritional programmes and Poshan Abhiyan and is proposed to adopt and intensify strategy to improve nutritional outcomes across 112 aspirational districts”, he said.

Noting that the World Health Organisation has repeatedly stressed the importance of clean water, sanitation, and clean environment, as a pre requisite to achieving universal health, the Budget has made significant allocation to these sectors.

The Union Budget has announced launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban).  It aims at universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crore household tap connections, as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. It will be implemented over 5 years, with an outlay of  Rs 2,87,000 crore.

Additionally, to boost value addition in agriculture and allied products and their exports, FM has proposed to increase the scope of ‘Operation Green Scheme’ that is presently applicable to tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOPS), to be enlarged to include 22 perishable products.

To provide adequate credit to the farmers, the FM enhanced the agricultural credit target to Rs 16.5 lakh crore in FY22. The Minister further said that the government will focus on ensuring increased credit flows to animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries.

Further, in order to incentivize startups in the country, the FM announced extension in the eligibility for claiming tax holiday for startups by one more year till 31st March, 2022.  In order to incentivize funding of startups, she proposed extending the Capital Gains exemption for investment in startups by one more year till 31st March, 2022. 

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