National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding
The National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) were released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2004.
These are in line with the adoption of the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding by the 55th World Health Assembly in May 2002 and adoption of the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Act, 2003 by the Parliament of India.
The National Nutrition Policy adopted by the Government of India under the aegis of the Department of Women and Child Development in 1993 laid due emphasis on nutrition and health education of mothers on infant and child feeding.
According to the guidelines, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
Thereafter to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
1) To advocate the cause of infant and young child nutrition and its improvement through optimal feeding practices nationwide.
2) To disseminate widely the correct norms of breastfeeding and complementary feeding throughout the nation in regional languages.
3) To help plan efforts for raising awareness and increasing commitment of the concerned sectors of the government, national organisations and professional groups for achieving optimal feeding practices for infants and young children.
Steps taken by the Government of India to ensure Infant and Young Child Feeding :
Promotion of breastfeeding practices under Mothers’ Absolute Affection (MAA).
Observation of the Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDs) for provision of maternal and child health services and creating awareness on maternal and child care.
Counselling to pregnant and lactating mothers under the Anganwadi Services Scheme.
Schemes such as Revised Mother and Child Protection Card, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), POSHAN Abhiyaan, etc.
NBCFDC and NISD
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is exploring the possibilities of a scheme for persons engaged in the act of begging.
The Scheme would cover identification, rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, education, skill development with the support of State Governments/UTs and Voluntary Organizations, etc.
The Ministry also provides funds to the National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and the National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) for the development of members of beggars’ community.
NBCFDC is a Government of India Undertaking under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
It was incorporated under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 on 13th January 1992 as a Company not for profit.
Its objective is to promote economic and developmental activities for the benefit of Backward Classes and to assist the poorer section of these classes in skill development and self-employment ventures.
The National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) is an Autonomous Body and is registered under Societies Act XXI of 1860 with the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT), Delhi.
It is a central advisory body for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
It is the nodal training and research institute in the field of social defence.
The institute currently focuses on human resource development in the areas of drug abuse prevention, welfare of senior citizens, beggary prevention, transgender and other social defence issues.
The mandate of the institute is to provide inputs for the social defence programmes of the Government of India through training, research & documentation.
Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram
Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed the Rajya Sabha about the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) while discussing the health and well-being of adolescents in the country.
Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in 2014.
It intends to ensure holistic development of the adolescent population.
The RKSK programme defines an adolescent as a person within 10-19 years of age, in urban and rural areas, includes both girls and boys, married and unmarried, poor and affluent, whether they are in school or out of school.
The programme also focuses on reaching out all adolescents including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ).
To guide the implementation of this programme, MoHFW in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has developed a National Adolescent Health Strategy.
The six thematic areas of RKSK as well as that of the strategy are nutrition, sexual reproductive health, substance misuse, non – communicable diseases, mental health and injuries and violence.
The programme envisages a paradigm shift from the clinic-based services to the promotion and prevention and reaching adolescents in their own environment, such as in schools, families and communities.
The prime elements of the programme are:
1) Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs) across various levels of public health institutions in all the States.
2) Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Programme for school going adolescent boys and girls and out of school adolescent girls across the country.
3) Peer Educator Programme in select 200 districts, based on Composite Health Index and identified as High Priority Districts (HPDs).
4) The Menstrual Hygiene Scheme that provides funds to the States/UTs for procurement of sanitary napkins for Adolescent Girls (aged 10-19 years).
Regulating Payment Aggregators and Gateways
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released guidelines for regulating activities of Payment Aggregators (PAs) and Payment Gateways (PGs) in the country.
PAs and PGs are intermediaries playing an important function in facilitating payments in the online space.
Non-bank PAs will require authorisation from the RBI under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSSA). A PA should be a company incorporated in India under the Companies Act, 1956 / 2013.
Banks provide PA services as part of their normal banking relationship and do not therefore require a separate authorisation from RBI.
E-commerce marketplaces (e.g. flipkart, Paytm) providing PA services should separate PA services from the marketplace business and they should apply for authorisation on or before 30th June, 2021.
PGs will be considered as ‘technology providers’ or ‘outsourcing partners’ of banks or non-banks, as the case may be.
Existing PAs have to achieve a net worth of ₹15 crore by 31st March, 2021 and a net worth of ₹25 crore on or before 31st March, 2023. The net worth of ₹25 crore has to be maintained at all times thereafter.
New PAs should have a minimum net worth of ₹15 crore at the time of application for authorisation and have to attain a net worth of ₹25 crore by the end of the third financial year of the grant of authorisation. The net worth of ₹25 crore has to be maintained at all times thereafter.
They need to undertake background and antecedent checks of the merchants to ensure that such merchants do not have any malafide intention of duping customers, and do not sell fake / counterfeit / prohibited products.
Anti-HIV Drugs for COVID-19
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued revised guidelines on the ‘Clinical Management of COVID-19’.
COVID-19 patients may present with mild, moderate, or severe illness and the early recognition of suspected patients allows for timely initiation of infection, prevention and control.
The Ministry has recommended use of drug combinations Lopinavir and Ritonavir (sold under the brand name Kaletra) depending upon the severity of the condition of a person having coronavirus infection, on a case-to-case basis.
Lopinavir-Ritonavir is recommended for high-risk groups of patients aged above 60 who are suffering from diabetes mellitus, renal failure, chronic lung disease and are immuno-compromised.
Lopinavir-Ritonavir is used widely for controlling Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
However, the use of Lopinavir-Ritonavir is also associated with significant adverse events which many times have led to discontinuation of therapy.
There is no current evidence from randomised controlled trials to recommend any specific treatment for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
No specific antivirals are recommended for treatment of those suffering from respiratory ailment due to lack of adequate evidence from medical literature.
The use of this drug combination is suggested by an expert committee comprising doctors from the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), experts from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO).