Country pursuing economic, social transformation: PM Deuba

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KATHMANDU — Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba today said the country was pursuing economic and social transformation by institutionalising federal democratic republic.

He expressed hope that the country would see sustainable political stability with an end to current political transition once all the three levels of elections–local, state and federal– concluded.

“The new constitution is being enforced, helping institutionalise the republic. Local elections will be concluded after their third round is held on September 18, while election date for the state assembly and federal has already been set,” he said, while addressing the two-day roundtable discussion on the government action for nutrition in the South Asia organised by the National Planning Commission (NPC) with the support of various development organisations, and the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative.

The event is aimed at reviewing on the situation of food security and nutrition in the region. A total of 116 representatives from various 16 countries in the region including Nepal have participated.

Stating that Nepal had made significant achievements in reducing stunting among under-five children from 57 percent in 2001 to 36 percent in 2016, PM Deuba said yet stunting remained worryingly high. He pledged to further streamline and make the food and nutrition programme, aimed at girls child below five, students and women, more effective.

The PM shared that Nepal had effectively implemented the Multi-sector Nutrition Programme (2013-2017) and expressed his confidence that the second phase of such programme (2018-2022) would be brought into effect effectively.

According to him, the government had attached priority to agendas such as sustainable agriculture development for poverty reduction, increase in the agricultural produce, development of physical infrastructures and health reforms among others.

Also speaking on the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education Gopalman Shrestha apprised the programme that the government had dealt with the issues of food and nutrition security from the rights-based approach instead of the humanitarian aspect. “Continuous attempts aim to see food and nutritional improvement are being made through the coordination among ministries concerned and free school lunch programmes are in operation to improve in the status of nutrition among school children.”

NPC vice chair Swarnim’s Wagle, highlighting the importance of food and nutrition in the socio-economic transformation, said the NPC had, bearing this fact in mind, prepared the Multi-sector Nutrition Plan for the second phase.

“The situation of availability of food and nutrition is different in the rural and urban areas, and distinct programmes and policies are needed to address the issues specifically.”

NPC another member Prof Dr Geeta Bhakta Joshi expressed his hope that the discussion would help bring additional policies and programmes to see further food and nutritional improvement.

Representatives from the World Bank, European Union, UK Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund are taking part in the event where they will announce their additional funding in the sector of food and nutrition improvement.

As stated by WB expert Roshan Bajracharya, the bank would increase its investment in the food and nutrition programmes in the South Asian nations in the days ahead. RSS