Will ICDS solves malnutrition problem - Fusion - WeRIndia

Will ICDS solves malnutrition problem in India?

Will ICDS solves malnutrition problem in India?

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is Indian government’s supplementary nutrition scheme. Launched in 1975, the main aim of this scheme is to provide food, primary healthcare and preschool education to children under the age of six years. This unique scheme is one of the largest schemes of India. Around 10.2 crore citizens in India are the beneficiaries of this scheme. The beneficiaries include pregnant women, lactating mothers and children below the age of six years.

This scheme is being implemented for over decades. Yet, the sad part is that India has very high levels of malnutrition. The World Bank estimates reveal that India is one of the countries with highest levels of malnutrition in the world existed.

Unfortunately, malnutrition is one of the major causes of death of children under five. Approximately half of children in India are dying each due to lack of nutritional food.

So far, the nutritional food given under this scheme has been cooked by mothers and villagers or Anganwadis. But, the minister for women and child development, Maneka Gandhi believes it is better to make food at the central place to provide a specific quantity of food to children each day, and this opportunity would be given to a government company or private company. But Food rights activists fear that private players may take advantage of this.

Since 2004, as per the orders of Supreme Court, self-help groups and village communities are providing hot, cooked meals to children under six.

Maneka Gandhi added that the meals prepared for children will have all the essential micro-nutrients in adequate amount, healthy grains like millets, and poha like foods for iron and folic acid would be transported in a clean environment. In Madhya Pradesh, an NGO is undertaking meal preparation for children and delivering it to nearby Anganwadis. The NGO is showing exemplary work.

The main problems in ICDS scheme are: Low quality food, irregular distribution, draining of food and leakages. The Supreme Court stated if the food is prepared within community, then accountability will be improved. Yet, violations are seen in states such as Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Here private contractors are tasked to supply supplementary nutrition to children.

Image Credit: Image by Fifaliana Joy from Pixabay (Free for commercial use)

Image Reference: https://pixabay.com/it/photos/povert%C3%A0-bambini-madagascar-2035694/

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