A research group formed to study causes of malnutrition in Maharashtra has suggested ‘participatory malnutrition free villages action plan’ for active participation of all concerned government agencies to deal with the issue. The group suggested formulation of schemes in view of culture, eating habits of the tribals and their geographic variation, apart from several other measures.
Manthan, a Pune-based group, conducted the study following directives from Rest of Maharashtra Development Board in 2014-15. The group surveyed 21 villages in Palghar and Nandurbar districts.
The group also found inconsistent supply of public distribution system (PDS), inaccessible roads, staff vacancies, take home ration (THR), eating habits of the tribals and their migration factors that are contributing to malnutrition problem. It also discovered that the tribals were not using wheat in their daily meals. Despite receiving it through PDS, they exchanged it against oil, salt or any other commodity. This is because of their eating habits. It also means that lack of balanced diet is a factor for malnutrition and not just food scarcity, said Radhika Rastogi, member secretary, rest of Maharashtra Development Board.
In a presentation made before the Governor CV Rao last week, the group suggested restructuring of the present schemes being run by the state government in order to make them fruitful to curb malnutrition cases. The group was formed to study the factors contributing to the problem, detect loopholes in the existing system and make recommendations to plug them.