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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

More schemes to tackle malnutrition

Debasish Panigrahi, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 20, 2013
First Published: 01:39 IST(20/8/2013) | Last Updated: 01:41 IST(20/8/2013)

A week and half after announcing a string of aid and compensation packages for the families of malnourished children in the tribal pockets of Thane district, the state government on Monday doled out more schemes aimed at the economic empowerment and awareness of women in those areas.

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Varsha Gaekawd, cabinet minister for women and child development in the Maharashtra government, said that these schemes would have a direct bearing on improving health of mothers and children.

Gaekawd, who visited hospitals, health centres and Aanganwadis (village crèche) in the tribal pockets of Jawahar and Mokhada, on Monday told HT that the aim of her visit was to take stock of the problem of malnourishment vis-à-vis an audit of the various welfare schemes in operation to meet the same.

She said that the problem of malnourishment was closely associated with motherhood at an early age and lack of awareness among young mothers. She said that, as part of the awareness programmes, teams of trained doctors would soon be dispatched to these areas to train mothers about the diet patterns of children and maintaining hygiene at home. Simultaneously, the Aanganwadis would be more streamlined in looking after the issue of malnourishment of children in tribal villages.

Vocational training will also be imparted to young mothers so as to stop their migration to nearby urban areas in search of jobs. “This will help empower girls economically,” she added.

Following HT’s persistent campaign in highlighting the intensity of malnourishment in these areas, the tribal affairs ministry had on August 8 announced a string of relief and compensation packages to families that had lost children owing to malnourishment or those with malnourished children.

Minister of state for tribal welfare Rajendra Gavit had announced an immediate compensation of Rs. 50,000 each to 23 families where malnutrition deaths had occurred. During the four months of monsoon, the state will pay Rs. 4,000 each to 1,593 families with children under Grade 3 and Grade 4 malnourishment.

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