Impasse over anganwadi meals ended
now all aganwadis in India will have to serve hot, cooked meals to children and pregnant or lactating mothers within
two years. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, or ccea, on October 16 told the Ministry of Women and
Child Development to arrange for serving hot cooked meals, thus, putting an end to the stand-off between the ministry and food commissioners
appointed by the Supreme Court in the right-to-food case.
The ministry wanted to introduce packaged, ready-to-eat food under the Integrated Child Development Services (icds). But food commissioners said supplying ready-to-eat food involving contractors would make the scheme prone to
corruption (see 'Eat this', March 15, 2008).
The Prime Minister's Office, human resource development ministry, planning commission and the Expenditure Finance Committee have also
opposed the proposal for ready-to-eat food.
A group of ministers will be formed to recommend measures in three months to the state governments to expedite the switchover to cooked
meals. "Fifteen states are already serving hot, cooked meals and hopefully within six months, the rest of the states will make the transition," said
Biraj Patnaik, principal advisor to the food commissioners
ccea also approved the implementation and the expansion of the icds scheme
during the eleventh five-year plan. This will increase the total number of anganwadis to 1.4 million from the present over one million centres.
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