Government spends Rs 80 lakhs per month yet the number of malnourished children is growing
Nagpur: The State Government has decided to serve cold meals instead of hot meals served in Anganwadi order to reduce the malnourishment among the children. The budget of the cold meal is said to be Rs 3 crores for three years. The expenses on the food served in Anganwadis in Nagpur city, amounts to Rs 80 lakhs. In spite of the heavy expenses, there are no signs of eradication of malnourishment. On the contrary, the rate of malnourishment seems to be on the rise.
The Self Help Groups have been demanding from a long time that the government should reduce the pre-packaged cold meals or Take Home Ration (THR) and provide hot food instead.
Earlier, the government used to provide hot meals to girls, pregnant women, lactating women and teenage girls. The hot meals included Khichdi, Masala Chawal, Soji (Rawa), Groundnut Ladoos, Chiwda and Poha. While trying to reduce the expenses, the government had instructed the Anganwadi workers to feed only the children between the age group of 3 to 6 years. The recipients of these meals from Anganwadis were 30%. For the remaining 70% the Anganwadi workers were asked to provide Take Home Ration (THR) Powders. This THR included Sattu, Upma, Sukhdi and Shira powder in packaged form, which was to be consumed by adding hot water to that.
In Nagpur (including Kamptee), there are as many as 981 Anganwadis. The recipients of the meals are 1, 73,056/-. Nagpur has 27098 malnourished children. In spite of the allegations that the THR is tasteless, the budget/expenses are amounting to Rs 80 lakhs per month. The city’s Anganwadis are divided into 6 projects. Of this the most bill is generated from Manav Nagar Projects of North Nagpur and the least bill is generated from Reshimbagh Project (the number of Anganwadis is very less).
President of Maharashtra State Mahila Bachat Gat Sanghatna Nalanda Ganvir, Nalini Bhagat, Pushpa Tembre have all demanded that the government should stop serving cold meals and instead serve hot meals. They have alleged that many agencies are duping the government to the tune of lakhs of Rupees showing fictitious figures. These women also wanted to know that if the powder (THR) is so beneficial, why are the statistics showing a more that twenty thousand malnourished children. There is also no specified programme for the eradication of malnourishment among children.