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Government provides Rs.12,000 crore more to fight malnutrition

IANS | New Delhi |

The government has provided an additional Rs.12,000 crore to fight malnutrition over the next three years in the country after revising cost norms for supplementary nutrition provided in Anganwadis and in the scheme for adolescent girls, an official said.

“The government has effected a quantum increase of about 33 per cent in cost norms, which have been revised for the first time since 2011 in the case of ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services),” Women and Child Development Secretary Rakesh Srivastava said in a statement on Friday.

The government under its flagship programme ICDS provides morning snack which can be milk, banana, fruits or micronutrient food at Anganwadi centres to children aged six months to three years.

Pregnant women, lactating mothers and severely malnourished children can take the food home.

There are about 13.5 lakh Anganwadi centres in the country.

In the case of Scheme for Adolescent Girls, cost norms had been increased for the first time since 2010, said Srivastava.

“With this, an additional Rs.9,900 crore has been given for supplementary nutrition in Anganwadis over the next three years and Rs.2,276 crore in the scheme for adolescent girls over the next three years,” he explained.

He said the cost norms had now also been linked to the Food Price Index, which will enable the government to increase the cost norms annually without any hindrance.

For pregnant women and lactating mothers, the revised cost would be Rs.9.5 from Rs.7. The severely malnourished children would now get supplementary nutrition worth Rs 12.5 from the existing Rs.9, according to the new guidelines.

Cost norms for nutrition provided to adolescent girls of 11-14 years have also been revised to Rs.9.5 from Rs.5.