"Instead of giving it to Anganwadi or mothers or villagers to make food, why don't we have it made at the central place by a company, whether government or not, and give a dedicated quantity of food to children every day," she said after releasing two reports on nutrition.
India Health Report (IHR) 2015 by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Global Nutrition Report 2015 of International Food Policy Research Institute were launched today by Gandhi and Union Health Minister JP Nadda.
"We can put iron or folic acids into these regular foods like poha, so that children can get hygienic and nutritious food," she said.
IHR, which is focused on the topics of child stunting and malnutrition, gives critical analysis of the current situation with nutrition at the national and state levels. It called for more regular data on nutrition through periodic surveys.
Ramanan Laxminarayan from PHFI said the Integrated Child Development Programme being implemented through Anganwadi Center across the country is the biggest tool to improvement of nutrition levels among children.
"ICDS is the largest child welfare programme in the world and the most important tool that we can use to reduce malnourishment, if implemented properly," Laxminarayan said.
Around 39 per cent of all children under five are very short for their age (stunted). This compares with a 24 per cent rate at the global level. Being stunted means that these children are not fulfilling their potential either in childhood or as adults and their brain and immune systems are compromised, often for their entire life, the reports says.
However, there has been an increase in the decline rate of stunting at the national level.
"Though India's national rate of stunting declined has increased from 1.7 per cent in 2005-06, to now 2.6 per cent, it is not fast enough to global goals on nutrition," Lawrence Habbad, Senior Researcher from International Food Policy Research Institute said.
The GNR assesses progress in reducing malnutrition for all 193 countries. "It concludes that India is on track to meet 2 of 8 global targets on nutrition and has significantly improved its nutrition performance in the past 10 years," it said.
Nadda urged for suggestions to accelerate action at state level and strengthening accountability for impact of nutrition programmes.
"I urge upon you to find solutions for accelerating action at the state level as it must be fought at the ground level and strengthening and full accountability of the delivery of high impact nutrition programmes," he said.
In order to strengthen the ICDS programme, Women and Child Development Ministry has been undertaking various capacity building measures for workshops for Anganwadi workers by organizing training programmes, equipping them with tablets devices and giving them promotional abilities, Gandhi said.