Siddaramaiah promises to eradicate malnourishment among children in state

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SiddaramaiahBANGALORE: In his first visit to Raichur district after becoming chief minister, Siddaramaiah on Sunday has assured to root out malnutrition among children of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

Though he did not specify time limit, Siddaramaiah said government was enough to control malnourishment and his government will further push schemes and funds to eliminate malnutrition among children. “This is (malnutrition) is one of the main causes of backwardness of the region. The government is committed to free the region from this,” the CM told in Sindhanur. The Congress manifesto also mentions of eradicating malnutrition.

According to government statistics, Belgaum district top the list with 7,587 malnourished children in the state. This is followed by Raichur with 6,089, Bellary 5,258, Koppal 4,496, Gulbarga 4,436 and Bidar1,216 children. Altogether, there are more than 65,000 malnourished children in the state. Poverty, high percentage of female illiteracy, child marriages, discrimination, and diseases during the birth are major causes for child malnutrition in the state. Kolar and Chikkaballapura districts on south also have children with malnourishment.

Among new scheme to eradicate malnutrition, the horticulture department has planned to encourage growing of vitamin A and C rich fruits in Hyderabad-Karnataka region. Barbados cherry, sweet lime, papaya, mango beetroot, leafy vegetables and oranges have been will planned to grow. Carrot, pumpkin, tomato, drumstick, curry leaf, chakramuni (called vitamin plant) will also be encouraged to grow.
About 75 lakh saplings of plants of vitamin A and C rich fruits and vegetables will be distributed free of cost to BPL households, small and medium farmers, schools and gram panchayats as part of the government’s plan to address the problem of malnutrition. “The benefits of the scheme is that 15 lakh households will be targeted and about 50 lakh children and nursing mothers will get protective fruits and vegetables,” department official maintained.

To over come the deficiency, the government has introduced a scheme to supply egg and milk to the severely malnourished children in five districts – Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal, Bellary and Yadgir. “200 ML milk for two days and egg for four days are being given in a week. For those children who don’t consume eggs, milk will be given for six days a week. Efforts would be made to supply milk and eggs to malnourished children of all districts at the Anganwadi kendras in the state,” an woman and child welfare department official said.

A Karnataka high court-appointed committee Justice N K Patil has submitted a report recommending 112 measures for tackling malnutrition in the state. Out of 112 recommendations, the government has initiated steps to implement 87 recommendations. “The government has been providing nutritious food costing Rs 6.90 per day for severely malnourished children,” official said.

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