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Scheme for Combating Malnourishment in MP Children Yet to Pick Up

nourished. According to Sharma 53 percent children in Shivpuri are malnourished. "Of the 190,446 children who were weighed in 2001, 53.2 percent were found to be malnourished; 4,531 were severely malnourished and needed immediate assistance," he said.

While some children gained weight at the centre, many parents were disappointed with the result.

To encourage women to bring their children to the centre they are given a cheque of Rs.33 every day. They are also asked to bring their husbands along. The men get work at government sites. Siblings are sent to pre-school centres.

The scheme has its critics. Right to Food, a civil society group, is one. It feels the scheme is a drop in the ocean in a state where existing nutrition programmes like the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) have been neglected.

"There are 10.6 million children in the age group 0-6," a Right to Food spokesperson said. "Only 2.33 million or 22 percent children have been brought under the ICDS. Allocations made by governments for nutrition have shown little or no increase in recent years."

Shivpuri district officials maintain their initiative has been a success, and NGOs are too uncharitable. "Let them take up one block, and show us if they can remove malnutrition there before they criticise our efforts," Sharma said.

(Source: IANS)
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