The Gujarat government in a written reply to a question by a Congress MLA said that there are over 1.96 lakh malnourished children in the state, reported The Indian Express.
As per state government’s data, there are 1,96,660 malnourished children in all 33 districts of the state with the highest number of 42,488 children in Dahod. While the Narmada with 14,722 children had the second-highest number of malnourished children, Porbandar and Botad had the lowest with 709 and 938 children respectively.
The question was raised by Lalit Vasoya, Congress MLA from Dhoraji, during the fifth session of the state legislature that concluded on Wednesday, December 11.
The high number of malnourished children comes despite the government providing fortified food through 53,029 anganwadis in the state. The government said that the malnourished children included the ones in anganwadis. While Dahod has 3,056 anganwadis – the third highest in the state, Narmada had 952 anganwadis.
The government added that through the Doodh Sanjeevani Yojana, they were supplying fortified flavoured milk in 20 districts. In addition, the government has also been providing breakfast and fruits to children of three-six years, twice a week. The malnourished children between 3-6 years of age also get ‘ladoos’ as a third meal, which is a carry away meal. Along with this, they are also given wheat, green gram, and oil to take home. Also, children between the age group of six months – three years are given ‘Balshakti‘ as a take-home ration.
In a separate answer, the state government also said that it has appointed Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and Mumbai-based International Institute of Population Science (IIPS) to conduct surveys regarding malnourishment in the state.
In reply to another question, the government also said that it had sent applications seeking permission from Delhi to open 1,710 new anganwadis as a step to increase the number of anganwadis in the state. The state added that they have received permission to open 892 anganwadis so far.
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