“Malnutrition level in the State is below 40 per cent”
Anganwadi centres in the State will see improvements at a cost of Rs.98 crore this fiscal, Social Welfare Minister Selvi Ramajayam, said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a function organised to celebrate International Children's Day, Iodine Day, World Food Day, International Hand Washing Day, National Nutrition Day and World Breast Feeding Week celebrations, organised jointly by the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS), Ms. Ramajayam said that the funds were to take up building renovation works at a cost Rs.47 crore; buying electrical fittings and bulbs at a cost of Rs.27 crore; and providing toilet facilities for children at Rs.24 crore.
She suggested that improvement works to the Anganwadi centres could be taken up with the MLA's Local Area Development fund.
Local body authorities should extend their support in the operation and maintenance of Anganwadi centres in the rural areas, suggested Aruna Rathnam, Education Specialist of the UNICEF.
The malnutrition level in the State is below 40 per cent, which is far above the national average of 45 per cent, said J.H. Banwal, Technical Advisor, Food and Nutrition Board of India. Both in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the ICDS activities were not up to the mark. This was due to lack of awareness among people, he said.
Meenakshi Rajagopal, Principal Secretary and Special Commissioner, ICDS, said as far as ICDS is concerned Tamil Nadu is the top performing State in the country. The Anganwadi centres in the State are in good condition. The workers should ensure that the surroundings outside these centres should also be hygienic as many children and pregnant women visit the place.
V.P. Kalai Rajan, T. Nagar MLA, said that the AIADMK government was implementing several welfare schemes for the development of women in the State.
He said that the officials could contact him for any help with regard to improving the Anganwadi centres in his constituency.