Milk, eggs twice a week for all anganwadi children

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate on Monday a project of the Women and Child Development (WCD) department to provide milk and eggs two days a week to preschool children in all anganwadis in the State to improve their nutrition levels.

As of now, only a few local bodies provide milk and eggs to anganwadi children in the 3-6 age group using their own funds.

₹61.5 crore earmarked

The State government has earmarked ₹61.5 crore in the Budget to include milk and eggs in the anganwadi menu this financial year. The initiative comes in the wake of the National Family health Survey (NHFS-5 2019-20) findings that showed a rise in anaemia across all age groups and an increase in wasting and stunting in children under five years.

The introduction of milk and eggs for anganwadi children is intended to improve their nutritional parameters, prevent stunting, and address the problem of underweight children. It is also significant as ending hunger is one of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.

Milma roped in

Milma milk will be distributed to the children in anganwadis. In areas where Milma milk cannot be made available, milk can be distributed through local milk societies, Kudumbashree, or dairy farmers. In locations where Milma milk or that through milk societies or dairy farmers cannot be provided, ultra high temperature (UHT) milk with a shelf life of three months will be made available by Milma.

Milma has expressed willingness to provide UHT milk from the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Alappuzha districts, that from the Ernakulam Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union for Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam, and Idukki districts, and the Malabar Regional Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union for Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Kannur districts.

The maximum number of anganwadis that have sought UHT milk is in Idukki – 92. In Thrissur, 26 anganwadis have asked for UHT milk. Kozhikode has four. There is no requirement for UHT milk in three districts – Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, and Kasaragod.

The scheme

Each child will be given 125 ml of milk a day two days a week for 44 weeks (10 months). With 1 litre of milk to cost ₹50, an amount of ₹31.5 lakh would be utilised from the ₹61.5 crore earmarked for this financial year. An amount of ₹8.9 crore has been sanctioned as the first instalment for distribution of milk for five months.

Similarly, the children will be given eggs twice a week for 44 weeks. An amount of ₹30 crore will be required for this. The first instalment of ₹8.55 crore has also been sanctioned.

After the formal inauguration on Monday, anganwadi-level inaugurations will be organised by anganwadi-level support and monitoring committee in the presence of people’s representatives, local body members, and the public. Distribution of milk and eggs will begin on the day itself.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2022 9:17:24 pm |