Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday inaugurated a project of the Women and Child Development department to provide milk and eggs to children at all anganwadis in the state in a bid to improve their nutrition levels.
Vijayan said it was important to ensure nutrition among children, as the foundation for one's healthy growth is laid in childhood itself. The state government has set aside over Rs 61.5 crore to include milk and eggs in the anganwadi menu this financial year.
Under this scheme, which is considered as a first in the country, each child will be given 125 ml of milk two days a week for 44 weeks (10 months) and an egg twice a week. "Now, it's two days a week. We should aim to provide milk and eggs everyday and anganwadis can take the help of Good Samaritans and the local self government bodies to achieve this. Profit motive should not be there behind providing milk and egg for the children. MILMA can also help," Vijayan said.
MILMA refers to the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation which is a state government cooperative society formed in 1980. Under this project, four lakh children in the age group of 3-6 from the 33,115 anganwadis of the state will receive eggs and milk twice a week.
Referring to a 2019 UNICEF survey, Vijayan said Kerala is among the front-runners in providing nutrition-rich food. State Health Minister Veena George, who spoke during the occasion, said this was for the first time in the country that milk and eggs are being provided for anganwadi children.
"Over 200 anganwadis will be converted to smart ones while two have already been converted," George said. Chief Minister Vijayan said his government aims to create a child-friendly state by making the anganwadis smart, ensuring nutrition for children and by eliminating violence against children in the society.
The introduction of milk and eggs for anganwadi children is intended to improve their nutritional parameters and assumes significance as ending hunger is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations.
(With PTI inputs)