The Chhattisgarh government on Friday announced that it will launch a scheme to provide “free nutritious food” on a daily basis to those suffering from malnutrition and anaemia in the state.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel made the announcement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and said that while initial pilot projects are already in operation in Bastar, the scheme would first be launched on October 2, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Baghel said that the state government has set a target of eradicating malnutrition and anaemia within the next three years. “This campaign was initiated as pilot project in Bastar region from July, 2019 and it will be soon conducted in other aspirational districts of the state as well. In this campaign of anemia and malnutrition eradication, maximum participation of renowned charitable organizations, public representatives, NGOs, media groups and other competent people of the districts will be ensured. Chief Minister has appealed local representatives and all the sections of society to actively participate in this campaign,” a government release said.
Government officials said that according to data released by the Niti Aayog, 37.60 per cent children aged below 5 years in the state suffer from malnutrition and 41.50 per cent daughters and mothers suffer from anemia. “Every year lakhs of children die because of malnutrition and anemia, lakhs of children are born underweight, they suffer from growth issues, their mental and physical development is adversely affected, and difficulties become part of their lives right from the time of birth. Some serious strategic measures are required to redress this problem,” Baghel said.
Each gram panchayat will compile a list of those suffering from malnutrition and anaemia, cross-referenced with physical indicators, government officials said. “Funds for implementation of this programme will be sanctioned every month from DMF, CSR funds, and basic funds of respective panchayats or by respective development authorities and each of the gram panchayats will maintain daily record of people being benefitted under the programme,” a senior official said.