The World Bank has approved a $106-million credit, representing the first part of a two-phase loan to support India’s efforts to improve the nutritional outcome for children under six, with particular focus on 0-3-year-olds.

The initiative is aimed at improving services for pregnant/lactating women as well as for children under the ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) approved by the World Bank Board.

The first phase will be implemented over three years, to be followed up on successful achievement of results with a four-year second phase. Policy and institutional reforms as well as innovative pilot programmes will be tested in eight high-burden States, with special focus on 162 high malnutrition-burden districts there. At present, India has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world.

World Bank country director for India Onno Rûhl said: “This project will support the Indian Government’s efforts in building the necessary institutional capacity and systems needed to improve nutrition for expecting mothers and their children.”

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