The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to include items like dalia, laddoo, halwa and khichdi in the menu of Anganwadi centres which are meant for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers from the slums. These women and children are being served the traditional ‘panjiri’, which is a good source of protein with high calorie value, for past several years. It is distributed free of cost at the Anganwadi centres.
“The state government received information that children, pregnant women and lactating mothers living in slums were not evincing much interest in consuming panjiri, despite its nutritional value,” UP Minister of State for Child Development and Nutrition Anupama Jaiswal told PTI.
“Recently, a team of officials of the Department of Child Development and Nutrition visited Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, where they studied the food menu. In some states, dalia and halwa are served, while in others, laddoo and khichdi was given,” UP Minister of State for Child Development and Nutrition Anupama Jaiswal told PTI.
The state government was mulling changing the menu at the Anganwadi centres, she said. “The government wants to save children, pregnant women and lactating mothers from malnutrition. The officials who had visited different states have submitted their reports which are being studied. We are hopeful that soon we will come up with a new menu,” Jaiswal said.
Apart from this, the department is also making efforts to ensure that the food items meant for the Anganwadi centres directly reach there. Earlier, the food items reached the Anganwadi centres through the block and district level.
“This will ensure that the Anganwadi workers do not face any problems and also curtail theft of food items,” she said. The minister said in the state there were 1.88 lakh Anganwadi centres, where 74,775 Anganwadi workers and 1.53 lakh assistants are working. Children living in slum areas are also imparted basic primary education in these centres.