Jharkhand’s Women and Child Development minister Joba Manjhi Saturday requested the Centre to release pending funds and sanction more Anganwadi centers to strengthen its fight against malnutrition in the state.
Manjhi was speaking at the zonal meet of aspirational districts, organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development here. Besides representatives from Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh, Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Dr. Munjpara Mahendrabhai also participated in the event.
Manjhi said around forty percent of children are malnourished in Jharkhand. “Our government is fighting against it. In this regard, Chief Minister Hemant Soren has decided to provide eggs six days a week to Anganwadi centers. However, lack of funds is posing to be a major challenge in the mission against malnutrition,” she said.
A sum of Rs 254 crore is approved for Anganwadi schemes in Jharkhand. “Of the total amount, the state is supposed to get Rs 177 crore from the Centre and we demand this share,” Manjhi said.
She said that remunerations of ICDS officials, staff, Anganwadi Sevikas, and Sahayikas, and rents of Anganwadi centers amounting to around Rs 122 crore, are pending for the 2021-22 fiscal. Manjhi said that the state has submitted utilization certificates of Rs 56.78 crore against the approved fund for the construction of 6,718 Anganwadi centers.
She also demanded additional 2,000 mini Anganwadi centers and a revival of the ‘Poshan Sakhi’ (nutrition friend) scheme, which is closed since 2017. “In Jharkhand, a total of 10,388 women were working as Poshan Sakhis in six districts. They have been released after the closure of the scheme. I request the minister to revive the scheme and implement it across Jharkhand, as it could play a major role in the fight against malnutrition,” Manjhi said.
In reply, the Union minister of state said, “We will consider the demand for mini-Anganwadi centers if any proposal in this regard comes to me.” Over the pending funds and Poshan Sakhi scheme, Mahendrabhai told reporters he would look into the matter.