Programme for maternal and child malnutrition gets Rs 300 crore

It was announced last year but could not take off due to fund crunch

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Thursday 28 February 2013

The multi-sectoral programme to deal with malnutrition that was announced in the last budget but could not take off, got a new lease of life as the finance minister allocated Rs 300 crore for it. He decreased the number of districts where the programme will be implemented for a year from 200 to 100. In 2014-15, as many as 200 districts will again come under the programme.

The programme to address maternal and child malnutrition was announced last year following a decision taken in the prime minister’s National Council on India’s Nutritional Challenges. It was aimed at sanitation, drinking water, primary health care, women's education, food security and consumer protection schemes. However, it failed to take off because it was announced without a specific budget allocation. The Planning Commission decided to take a re-look at the programme due to limited resources. It was only after this that the allocation was made.

According to UNICEF, malnutrition is more common in India than in Sub-Saharan Africa. One in every three malnourished children in the world live in India. Prevalence of malnutrition varies across states. Madhya Pradesh records the highest rate with 55 per cent and Kerala is among the lowest with 27 per cent. “Around 46 per cent of all children below the age of three are too small in size for their age, 47 per cent are underweight and at least 16 per cent are wasted. Many of these children are severely malnourished,” UNICEF states.


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