The Indian Dietetic Association (IDA) was formed in the year 1962. The association began its 50th year celebrations in 2012 and concluded it in December 2013 with its Annual National Conference held in the city of Pune. The conference was headed by Rekha Sharma, National President of IDA, and organised under the leadership of Geeta Dharmatti, President of the Pune Chapter of IDA.
Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, eminent scientist and former Director General, Center for Science & Industrial Research, Government of India, was the chief guest at the inaugural function of the IDA conference. Here are the excerpts from Dr Mashelkar’s address to a gathering of dietitians and nutritionists –
“India has had a green revolution (agriculture), a white revolution (dairy) and a blue revolution (space science & technology). Now it’s headed towards a grey revolution (referring to the minds in software development & export). However, we still have nutritional challenges in our country. Although there’s been economic growth, the percentage of children under three years of age who are underweight has remained constant. The number of underweight women has dropped only marginally. The 2012 Copenhagen consensus says that providing micronutrients to children under three is the best way to spend the global dollars; every dollar that you spend in this space generates 30 dollars of benefit. This has a huge impact on the social and economic development. The question that we need to ask ourselves is what innovations are we going to think of in the field of micronutrients? What are we going to do differently to improve the nutritional status of our population?
India has many traditional crops which are nutrient-rich but are under-utilised. If 10 kg of grain is required to produce 1 kg of meat, it will be difficult to feed the ever increasing population. This means we need to look at alternate methods and means of feeding the people. We need to look into the problems of the future and start taking appropriate action today to prevent those problems. India is home to traditional medicine (Ayurveda) and traditional food practices. We need to blend the traditional wisdom with modern science. We need to make available food products which are nutritionally rich at very low cost to the poor of this country. We need to create affordable excellence in healthcare and nutrition. Getting reliable data in our country is a great challenge. India does not have time in hand. The time has come for us to start thinking about innovation and accelerated inclusive growth. I would consider this conference as successful if at the end of it you can gather at least 20 ideas that have never been thought of before. Fifty years from now, India will be a developed country and the statistics will be different. I’m sure Indian Dietetic Association has a huge role to play in this journey. Thank you!”
Member, Indian Dietetic Association
Editor, Dietetics Around the World (ICDA Newsletter)