Failure to use funds behind Gujarat’s child malnutrition problem

Gujarat fails to use funds for mother, child nutrition

 
By Kundan Pandey
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may claim that the vegetarian nature of the middle class is the reason behind the malnutrition problem in the state. But a recent reply by Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath reveals that the problem stems from underutilisation of funds meant for mother and child nutrition. Gujarat’s human development index shows about 46 per cent children in the state are malnourished.

Responding to a query related to funds and utilisation in the past few years in Lok Sabha on February 28, Tirath stated that Gujarat failed to utilise the money allocated for Indira Gandhi Matrivtva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) scheme in 2012-13 and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme (general and training) during the 2011-12. For IGMSY, a special intervention designed for pregnant and lactating mothers, Rs 12.71 crore was released in 2012-13 but the state utilised only Rs 7.91 crore in this period.

Similarly, Rs 44,276.04 was released under ICDS, but Modi’s government has managed to utilise only Rs 39,130.09. ICDS deals with issues like malnutrition, mortality, morbidity and children dropping out of school to help improve the nutritional and health status of children under six. It also helps enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.

It is worth mentioning that Gujarat is reeling under the problem of malnutrition. Recently in his article, Justice (retd) Markandey Katju mentioned, “Today, 48 per cent Gujarati children are malnourished, which is a higher rate of malnourishment than the national average. In Gujarat there is high infant mortality rate, high women’s maternity death rate, and 57 per cent poverty rate in tribal areas, and among Scheduled Castes/Backward Castes.”

 

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