Over 18,115 children are suffering from severe and moderate acute malnourishment in the state.
This was informed by the Minister in-charge Social Welfare department Kyrmen Shylla in a statement issued on Thursday, to clarify over the alleged rice scam.
Shylla said that a special drive was conducted by the state government for the identification and management of severely and moderately acute malnourished children (SAM and MAM children) in September, last year.
“Around 1788 SAM children and 16,327 MAM children were identified as suffering from severe and moderate acute malnourishment,” he said.
Shylla also said the recovery rate of 93.85% was achieved among the SAM children and recovery rate of 97.53% among MAM children.
This was with intensive interventions of providing nutrition, nutrition counselling, growth monitoring, creating awareness on the benefits of consumption of the THR and regular health check-up in convergence with Health & Family Welfare Department and the facilitating support provided through Community & Rural Development Department.
“The state government along with the pro-active initiatives of Districts and Blocks is working towards improving the nutritional indicators of the state which has been a cause of concern for a long time,” he added.
Refuting the allegations levelled against the government in the implementation of the supplementary nutrition programme (SNP) under ICDS scheme, Shylla also reiterated that the seized rice from Boko, Assam is not the PDS rice meant for general distribution or as Covid relief rice during the pandemic as alleged.
“This rice was allotted by the Social Welfare Department from FCI to the approved Manufacturer of food items under the SNP of the ICDS Scheme, who lifted the allotted quota for the State for processing the same into micronutrient energy dense fortified food and hence, the allegation of diversion of rice does not arise,” he said.
The minister said that as per the Government of India’s Guidelines dated 26.9.2014, state governments should ensure strict implementation of the feeding norms while providing Take Home Ration (THR) under ICDS Scheme which consist of a fine mix of all kinds of ingredients including the revised intake of proteins and calories as per the nutritional norms as specified in the Schedule II of the National Food Security Act, 2013 and Supplementary Nutrition Rules, 2017.
Supplementary Nutrition is provided as Take Home Ration for children who are in the age group of 6 months to 3 years, pregnant and lactating mothers. Hot cooked meal is provided to children in the age group of 3 to 6 years of age attending the Anganwadi Centres.
Since the beneficiaries of Take Home Ration are infants in the age group of 6 months to 3 years and pregnant and lactating mothers, it is to be ensured that there is no compromise in the quality of the foodstuff provided and in consonance with the guidelines for Food Safety and hygiene, it is with this objective and as per the existing Rules of Government of India, the State Government had awarded the supply of THR to approved Manufacturers who complied with FSSAI Registration, Licensing process as laid down by Government of India.
He said presently the department has also engaged the services of 203 Self Help Groups in the procurement and transportation of foodstuff supplied as Hot Cooked Meal under SNP in the Anganwadi Centres.
Shylla further informed that the state government is also contemplating to encourage SHGs as Manufacturers in the procurement and supply of Take Home Ration subject to their fulfillment of the eligibility criteria as laid down by the Government of India in its letter on January 13, this year.
“It is the state government’s endeavour to promote formation of Self Help Groups at the village level for better economic growth and employment generation. Under POSHAN ABHIYAAN, Self Help Groups are involved in promoting kitchen gardens/backyard poultry in the Anganwadi Centres as well as in the community level to bring about food security, nutritional diversity, behavioral change in food habits to combat all forms of under-nutrition,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister also urge the media and the NGOs who have raised these issues to refrain from making any such statement which are far from true. “This would only demoralize all those who are working sincerely to improve the conditions of our people,” he stated.