Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

PM’s address at the release of Commemorative coin to mark 75 years of Food and Agriculture Organisation

  • Our farmer brothers of India, our Annadata, our agricultural scientists, and our Anganwadi & ASHA workers form a strong pillar or a strong foundation for the movement against malnutrition.
  • They have not only helped to fill the granary of India with their hard work but are also helping the government in reaching out to the poorest of the poor far and wide. Due to their efforts, India is strongly fighting against malnutrition even amidst Corona crisis.
  • Friends, This day is of great importance for Food and Agriculture Organization. Today, this important organization has completed 75 years.
  • Over the years, FAO has played a major role in increasing agricultural production, eliminating starvation and improving nutrition around the world including India.
  • The special commemorative coin of Rs 75 that has been issued today is to honour your spirit of service on behalf of more than 130 crore people of India. FAO’s World Food Programme receiving this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is also a major achievement.
  • And India is delighted that India’s participation and engagement in the same has been extremely historic. We all know that when the World Food Programme was initiated, Dr. Binay Ranjan Sen was the Director General of FAO.
  • Sen had experienced the pain of famine and starvation very closely. After becoming a policy maker, the pervasiveness with which he had worked is still relevant for the whole world. The seed that was sown has reached the point of receiving the Nobel Prize today.
  • Friends, The FAO has also closely watched India’s fight against malnutrition in the past decades. At different levels in the country, efforts were made by some departments but their scope was either limited or scattered.
  • We know that due to several reasons like pregnancy at a young age, lack of education, lack of information, lack of adequate water supply, lack of sanitation, we could not get the desired results of our fight against malnutrition.
  • When I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, work on several new schemes was initiated there keeping these facts in mind.
  • I had a long experience in Gujarat about aspects like the root cause of a problem; why we were not getting results; and how could I get the results! With those experiences, when I got a chance to serve the country in the year 2014, I started afresh some efforts.
  • We moved ahead with an integrated approach and a holistic approach. By putting an end to the fragmented approach, we started work on a multi-dimensional strategy.
  • On the one hand, the National Nutrition Mission was started while on the other hand we worked on every factor that was the root cause for malnutrition.
  • We also worked on changing the behaviour of family and society on a large scale as well. More than 11 crore toilets were built in India under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • While cleanliness could be seen due to the construction of toilets in the far-flung areas, there was a decline in many diseases like diarrhoea.
  • Similarly, the rate of vaccination of pregnant mothers and children under Mission Indradhanush was also increased rapidly. New vaccines against viruses like rotavirus, developed in India, were also added under this.
  • Keeping in mind pregnancy and the first 1000 days of the newborn, a major campaign was launched for Nutrition and Care for both the mother and the child.
  • Work is underway at a rapid pace to deliver piped drinking water to every household in the villages under the Jal Jeevan Mission.