Raised an issue regarding community based programs for malnutrition
Today in the Lok Sabha, I asked a question about the mechanism of food quality control in Maharashtra with reference to the policy for Community-based Management Programme for women and malnourished children under 5 years across the country. The ICDS programme is involved in eradicating malnutrition in the country.
I pointed out that malnutrition is rampant in Maharashtra from Thane to North Maharashtra and Vidarbha region. State Government of Maharashtra declared that women shelter homes and self help groups can play a crucial role in eradicating malnutrition in the state. Unfortunately in Maharashtra there is no such mechanism for ensuring quality control of food. In many places the quality of food is quite low due to funding problems faced by self help groups.
Hence, I asked a question to Shrimati Menaka Gandhi, Honourable Minister of Women and Child Development enquiring as to what kind of quality control mechanism the Government is planning to adopt so that children in Maharashtra can consume nutritious and healthier food.
The Honourable Minister replied saying that Supreme Court stated through two judgements that cooking and supply of food the children should be handled by the contractors. Whereas the responsibility for the same must be taken by NGOs. There is another school of thought which says that the food should be made within the village by the Anganwadis. However Anganwadis do not have community centres, kitchens and toilets.
The minister acknowledges the stellar role played by NGOs to tackle the problem of malnutrition and also admits that NGOs or contractors do not deliver the desired objectives. Contractors have indulged in cheating.
Furthermore, the “one size fits all” approach cannot work in a large country. There is a need for decentralisation and the viable mix of NGOs, contractors and anganwadis to solve the problem of malnutrition in the country. The Ministry sent out teams all over the country to find out what is working well in various places.
For example, the Ministry is following how malnutrition is tackled in Aurangabad. Also, Akshaya Patra, an NGO is doing extremely well in the whole State of Rajasthan