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Cabinet nod for nutrition project

The Govt has cleared continuation of a centrally funded nutritional programme for adolescent girls to reduce instances of malnutrition, reports Aloke Tikku.

delhi Updated: Aug 24, 2007 05:09 IST
Aloke Tikku

The government on Thursday cleared continuation of a centrally funded nutritional programme for adolescent girls to reduce instances of malnutrition that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently called a national shame.

The approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs came at its meeting chaired by the prime minister where the eligibility norm for beneficiaries was also tightened. The programme was launched on a pilot project basis in 51 districts in 2002-03 but did not take off till 2005-06 when it was transferred to the department of women and child development. The programme would cost the central government Rs 124 crore this year.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the cabinet had also approved modification of the cut-off weights; 30 kg for those in the age group of 11-15 years and 35 kg for beneficiaries in the age group of 15–19 years. Earlier, the cut-off weight was 35 kg for girls in the age group of 11-19 years.

Gender discrimination results in malnutrition of girls on a large scale; 56 percent of girls 15-19 years suffer from anaemia; 45 per cent of the girls suffer from stunted growth as opposed to 20 per cent of boys. Due to dietary deficiencies, adolescent girls do not achieve their potential weight and height.

The Union Cabinet also cleared setting up of six National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research at a cost of Rs 200 crore for five years at each location.

Information and Broadcasting minister PR Dasmunsi said the institutes would be located at Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Hajipur, Kolkata, Guwahati and Rai Bareilly. The institutes are expected to facilitate training of high calibre pharmaceutical experts and would award post-graduate degrees to cater to the demands of the sector.

The cabinet committee also cleared continuation of schemes for establishment of industrial training institutes in northeastern states and Sikkim and strengthening existing institutes in Jammu and Kashmir. These schemes are aimed at creating and developing infrastructure for training of youth in the identified skill areas in Sikkim, North Eastern States and J&K.