Protein push: Niti Aayog mulls PDS supply of eggs, fish & meat

This is based on the idea that the govt subsidises protein-rich food, including eggs, fish, chicken and meat.

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NEW DELHI: Subsidised eggs, fish, chicken and meat?

Niti Aayog, the government think tank, is working on a proposal aimed at improving India’s low nutrition ranking and centred on the idea that the government subsidises protein-rich food, including eggs, fish, chicken and meat, possibly through its public distribution system.This is likely to be part of Niti Aayog’s 15-year Vision Document. The document is expected to be in place by early next year and will be effective from April 1, 2020. licymakers and individuals.

“Top Niti Aayog officials are looking at widening the list of food items under the public distribution system to include at least one or mo-If implemented, these food items will join the food subsidy programme along with wheat, rice, coarse grains and a few varieties of pulses.

Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said increasing incomes should lead to dietary patterns diversifying to nutritive food. “However, unfortunately, India’s dietary pattern is becoming unhealthy with people moving towards oily, sugary and spicy food,” he said, adding that the Vision Document will aim to create awareness among pore protein-rich food to begin with,” an official familiar with deliberations said, requesting anonymity.


Rationalising Subsidies
India is self-sufficient in majority of foodgrains and is even a net exporter in some food categories. But its global scores are low in nutrition and hunger alleviation. According to UN India, about 195 million Indians are undernourished, constituting a quarter of the global hunger burden. Almost 47 million, or 4 out of 10 children in India, don’t achieve their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting, according to these studies.

Extending the subsidies to protein-rich items, which are typically costlier, will put a bigger burden on the already large food subsidy bill — pegged at Rs 1.84 lakh crore for 2019-20 — and, therefore, changes may be required in the current format. “Some amount of rationalisation will be needed,” said the official quoted earlier.
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