As told to Parliament (March 19, 2021): No special plan for children under 15 impacted by pandemic

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 19 March 2021

The Centre has formulated no specific action plan in the current response phase to minimise the adverse effects of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on children aged 0-14 years, Harsh Vardhan, Union minister of health and family welfare, said in Look Sabha on March 19, 2021.

Vardhan was answering a question on a February report by the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based non–profit that said the pandemic will have long-lasting impact on 375 million children in India.

He was not aware of any such report, he said.

An age-wise analysis of the country’s COVID-19 patients showed children younger than 15 years were less-affected. Further, the infection was milder in children and most remained asymptomatic.

Media campaign for healthier diet launched

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched a nation-wide media campaign Aaj Se Thoda Kam to encourage consumers to modify their diets to consume less fat, sugar and salt, Vardhan informed the House. Actor Raj Kumar Rao will be the face of the campaign.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has not conducted any specific studies on the possible correlation between consumption of unhealthy food and sudden heart attacks, the minister said in Lok Sabha on March 19.

NMR not mandatory for testing honey

FSSAI has not mandated conducting Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) tests to detect adulteration in honey, admitted Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union minister of state for health and family welfare.

NMR allows rapid, database-driven detection and quantification of various chemical compounds, especially for authenticating the origin of a sample of honey and no such database exists at present for Indian honey, Choubey told the House on March 19.

Most food regulations in the world also do not mandate NMR as a test for honey, he added.

Most major landslides in last five years in Kerala

There were 2,238 major landslides in Kerala between 2014 and 2020 — the highest in the country, according to data collected by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

The government agency gathered data on 3,656 landslides that impacted lives or infrastructure in the last five years in India, said Vardhan, who is also the Union minister for science and technology and earth sciences.

Landslides occurred and studied during the period 2014-2020


Number of landslides

Arunachal Pradesh
















Himachal Pradesh


Jammu & Kashmir






Tamil Nadu






West Bengal





Malaria among Children

Cases of malaria in children below 15 have gone down in the last four years in India. The number of infections dropped over 80 per cent in 2020 compared to 2017, said Vardhan.

Fewer cases of the disease was recorded in individual states as well, the minister added.

Penalty for Environmental Violations

The central government will not revise the penalty structure for environmental violations to fine an additional Rs 1 crore per day for continued damage, said Babul Supriyo, Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change, in the Lok Sabha on March 19.

A fine of Rs 10 crore can be imposed at present with an additional fine of Rs 25,000 per day for environmental damage after conviction, according to Section 26 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, the minister informed the House.

239 faunal species endangered

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List (2021) currently includes 239 faunal species which are endangered. This includes 45 mammals, 23 birds, 18 reptiles, 39 amphibians and 114 fishes, Supriyo said in Lok Sabha on March 19.

More demand for jobs under MGNERGA

The number of households who demanded work in the last three months of 2020-21 under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) was 40 per cent higher than the corresponding period of 2019-20, said Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Union minister of state for rural development, in Rajya Sabha on March 19. 

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