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  Fund crunch affects government nutrition plan

Fund crunch affects government nutrition plan

Published : Feb 22, 2016, 12:54 am IST
Updated : Feb 22, 2016, 12:54 am IST

The ministry of women and child development under its Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) plan provides nutrition to children below six years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The ministry of women and child development under its Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) plan provides nutrition to children below six years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. But in the past one year, the fund under the scheme from the central government has been decreased by 34 per cent which is affecting proper implementation of the programme.

According to the data provided by the state women and child development department, there has been steady fall in the amount of money released by the Union government for the project. In 2014, Rs 907 crore was released for the scheme while in 2015, it was decreased to Rs 602 crore.

“There has been a steady cut in the budget allocation. This has delayed the delivery of salary to the anganwadi workers who are the main strength of the project. The situation is similar across the country,” said an officer from the department.

Under the scheme, malnourished children till age six and pregnant women are given nutritious food. “Food supplements are provided that are rich with energy and protein. Fruits, milks and hot cooked meals are also provided,” said the officer.

However, according to anganwadi workers, there has been a fall in the supply. “There have been six categories under the scheme according to the age of the child and health condition. Each category has been characterised with different nutrition supplements. But the quantity of foods that are provided are not followed as per the guidelines given by the government,” said Puja Gayakwad, an anganwadi worker who works for children at Dharavi slums.

In fact, many of the workers have not been given their salaries for the past two to three months due to delay in the release of fund. “We have not received our salary for the past few months. Last year, we had also written to the state government regarding the matter but so far, we have not seen any improvement,” said Aakriti Bhoir from Maharashtra Anganwadi Sevika Union.