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What motivates parliamentarians to ask questions on nutrition Insights from new report

Geographies India

UNICEF

Updated 11 Dec 2023
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Malnutrition continues to be a critical issue in India affecting children, adolescents and adults. Parliamentarians have a pivotal role to play in the context of addressing malnutrition, they can shape effective development policies and discourse that can have a positive impact on early childhood development and leverage additional funding for improving nutrition. They also advance the well-being of their constituents through implementation and monitoring of programmes. Questions posed by parliamentarians to the Indian government help to ensure accountability for commitments made.

In this issue of PoshanWeekly, we are pleased to share a report, “Parliamentary discourse in nutrition: What motivates lawmakers to ask questions”. The report reviews two decades of parliamentary questions from 2000 until 2021 and their responses in relation to a timeline of critical nutrition events to identify key themes, trends and patterns observed in the discourse on nutrition. It attempts to identify what provoked these questions raised by the parliamentarians. Out of a total of 52,698 questions, 2,005 questions (4%) were raised on nutrition and associated themes. The highest number of questions (233) were raised in 2021 and the lowest number in 2004 (38). The years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2021 saw higher number of questions being raised 

It was found that a majority of the questions raised focused upon the national level implementation of key programmes such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS), Public Distribution System (PDS) and POSHAN Abhiyaan. With regards to house-wise distribution of questions, Lok Sabha had a higher number of questions as compared to the Rajya Sabha. In terms of probable triggers for parliamentary questions, only 10.7% of the total questions had references to specific articles or publications.  

We hope that you will enjoy reading the full report that is listed in the resources section below. This report can be used as a reference to further build upon the nutrition advocacy efforts with the parliamentarians and create a stronger space for constituency-driven actions which in turn can go a long way in delivering better nutrition outcomes for women and children. 

UNICEF

Updated 11 Dec 2023
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