Ministers ignored governor’s repeated calls to fight malnutrition since 2014

  • Faisal Malik, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2016 00:42 IST
The governor had also asked for expansion of creches in all the vulnerable areas but it too is yet to be done. (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

Despite the fact that Governor CV Rao has held four meetings since December 2014, none of the directives he gave to fight malnutrition in the state were complied with in time by Panjaka Munde-led women and child development department and Vishnu Savara-led tribal development department.

Rao also expressed his displeasure in the recent meeting held on September 14. Since December 2014, he has held four meetings to devise ways to eradicate malnutrition from the state and has also given many suggestions to both the departments. Despite regular follow ups, the concerned departments have failed in implementing his suggestions in the given time.

Also, in the May 7, 2016 meeting, despite governor’s clear directives to roll out phase 2 of APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Aahar Yojana, that includes providing nutritious food to kids in the age group of 7 months to 6 years thrice in a week in tribal areas, it did not begin before August. The scheme was expected to kick off in April.

While the first phase, launched on November 2015, covered all pregnant and lactating mothers, the second phase, which after much delay was launched by chief minister Devendra Fadanvis on August 9, is focusing on children as well.

The documents accessed by HT show that Rao, in a meeting held in November 2015, had directed women and child development department to expand village and child development centre (VCDC) scheme to vulnerable areas of Melghat, another tribal area in Vidarbha, but the department has failed to do so. “The principal secretary of women and child department said in the May 7 meeting that VCDC will be expanded to all the vulnerable blocks of Scheduled Areas and a compliance report will be given by June 30,” the copy of the meeting minutes said.

This centrally funded scheme aims at providing financial assistance of Rs 1,200 per child for a month to provide food to severely and moderately malnourished children. Vinita Singhal, commissioner Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), said women and child development department has moved a proposal to tribal department and once it is cleared, they will roll out the scheme.

To add to the trouble, the Centre last week decided to stop financing this scheme, creating further problems for the state. Rajgopal Devara, principal secretary, tribal development department, clarified saying they have asked all tribal commissioners to continue the scheme under Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP).

The governor had also asked for expansion of creches in all the vulnerable areas but it too is yet to be done. Reacting to this, Singhal said, “We have already started phase 2 of Amrut Aahar Yojana and based on the suggestions of the governor we are coming with up convergence of all existing government schemes to tackle the issue in a scientific way.”

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