Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) and Textiles, Smriti Irani, along with Bill Gates, co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Bharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh (BPKK) here on Monday.
A press note from the WCD Ministry said, "The BPKK will be a repository of diverse crops across 128 agro-climatic zones in India for better nutritional outcomes."
Irani while delivering the keynote address said, "This is a unique occasion where a tech giant is on the same platform as farmers and civil society members to promote a nutrition strong India in order to fulfill Prime Minister of India's message for an evergreen revolution that will bring together the nutritional needs of citizens with India's cropping patterns and agricultural production."
"The government has created a separate Ministry of Jal Shakti which is now working on providing clean drinking water to every household in the country," she said adding in September this year Poshan Maah was celebrated and in one month 36 million Poshan related activities were held across the country," she said.
The minister further said that the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana Scheme (PMMVY) has reached out to 10 million beneficiaries by compensating for wage losses and since 2013 maternal mortality rate has come down by 26.9 per cent.
"Minister of WCD said that on this occasion she would like to thank the 1.3 million Anganwadi workers who help to keep the nutritional goals alive, the 1.2 million Anganwadi helpers and state agencies who have reached out to 85 million beneficiaries and digitally linked them with the government of India through daily updates on the dashboard," the press note said.
At the event, Irani also stressed that for India to reach its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it is now time to bring together the science of implementation with the science of communication so that nutrition is on the political and administrative agenda along with hygiene and clean drinking water.
According to the press note, Bill Gates in his address said, "If there was one problem that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would like to solve in India it is the problem of malnutrition among women, expectant mothers and children. Solving this problem will bring about a dramatic change in the development of India and help the country to attain the SDGs."
Gates informed that the Foundation will be happy to partner with the government of India, the Ministry of WCD and other Ministries in every way to deal with this multi-faceted challenge in order to create a sustained nutritional programme to bring down malnutrition in the country.