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81% of money meant for malnourished children remains unused in Maharashtra

Only 19% or Rs339.9crore of Rs1,339crore released by the state government was used between April and June 2017.

mumbai Updated: Jul 22, 2017 01:06 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,malnutrition
Most of the spent money was used for the Take Home Ration (THR) scheme, which provides ready-to-cook food items to infants from 0 to 3 years.

Only 19% or Rs339.9crore of Rs1,339crore released by the state government to provide food for malnourished children was used between April and June 2017, according to an analysis by the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS), which is based in Pune.

Of the spent money under the Centre’s Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), most of it was used for the Take Home Ration (THR) scheme, which provides ready-to-cook food items to infants from 0 to 3 years, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women. The THR scheme comes under the ICDS.

Several studied have shown that the ready-to-cook food tastes bad, causes indigestion and is mostly fed to cattle and other livestock.

“Around 98% of the children did not like the taste of the THR supplements. 40% of the families said that it smelled bad and was difficult to cook. Some of them complained of indigestion. Some even found worms in the sealed packets,” according to a previous study conducted by NGOs, Rachna, Khoj, Aamhi Aamchya Aarogyasathi, Janaarth, Lokseva Sangam and Sathi.

Amit Narkar of the NCAS has questioned why the government is spending so much on the THR scheme, when reports suggest that the food is not palatable.

“The government needs to give this issue a serious thought,” he has said.

Earlier, the state government used to distribute three packets of powdered food, comprising sheera, upma and sattu.

Meanwhile, Anganwadi workers and helpers hired by the government to run the ICDS programme have complained that their salaries haven’t been paid. “Three years ago, the central government cut their funding for ICDS, but the state government did not increase the budget. Instead, they have reduced it even further,” Shubha Shamim, secretary of Anganwadi Karmchari Sangathana, has said.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 01:06 IST