N.K. Patil, chairman of a committee appointed by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka to submit an action plan on tackling malnourishment among children and judge of the High Court, has said that henceforth Deputy Commissioners will be held responsible for malnourishment in children in their districts.

Speaking at a meeting of Deputy Commissioners of six districts of the Gulbarga Division here on Thursday, Mr. Patil said that one of his recommendations in the final report consisting of a master plan for effectively tackling malnourishment among children aged less than six would be to make Deputy Commissioners accountable for complaints of malnourishment among children.

He said that there was a need for fixing accountability to ensure that government programmes are effectively implemented. Mr. Patil said that the government had told the High Court that there was no shortage of funds to tackle malnourishment among children and it was ready to release additional funds.

“It is the responsibility of the officials to ensure that the available funds are properly utilised to improve the health status of children and effectively tackle malnourishment among children,” he said.

Referring to the figures about the health status of the children submitted by officials, Mr. Patil said that these figures did not reflect the ground situation. “No department has the correct figures about malnourishment among children,” he said.

Mr. Patil said what was required was effective monitoring of the implementation of government programmes and follow-up action by officials at the district level.

He said that high-level committees headed by Deputy Commissioners have been constituted in all districts to tackle malnutrition among children. The committees have been asked to submit recommendations on the ways to tackle malnutrition to him (Mr. Patil).

Expressing dissatisfaction over the functioning of anganwadis and government hospitals, Mr. Patil said that there was a need to improve infrastructure in anganwadis and hospitals. A conducive atmosphere has to be created in anganwadis and all requirements, including utensils and cooking aids, should be provided to them.

Secretary of Health and Family Welfare E.V. Ramanareddy, Secretary of Women and Child Welfare Ramesh D. Zalki, Commissioner of Education Department G. Kumar Naik, Director of Women and Child Welfare Shivamurthy, Regional Commissioner K. Ratna Prabha and Deputy Commissioners and Chief Executive Officers of the Zilla Panchayats of Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Yadgir and Bellary were present.