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Caste-based bias emerges major concern in citizens’ report card on nutrition support in MP

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Special Correspondent

BHOPAL: Caste based discrimination in serving of food at anganwadis and schools has emerged as one of the major concerns, especially in Sheopur district in the citizens’ report cards on nutrition support programmes prepared under a Germany supported food and nutrition security project.

The reports for Sheopur and Chhatarpur districts have been prepared by German NGO Welthungerhilfe (WHH) with technical support of MP-based organisation Samarthan.

The findings were shared at a state consultation organized on April 13 at Bhopal. The report cards are basically citizens’ feedback on nutrition support programs of the government like – integrated child development scheme (ICDS), public distribution system (PDS) and mid-day meals (MDM).

Among the other major concerns that emerged was dissatisfactory availability of hot cooked meals for the children at anganwadis as well as schools. Also the lack of focus on other child and women welfare services under ICDS was highlighted.

Among the positives were high access and reach of the Anganwadi centers in the community. Besides, availability of Take Home Ration and registration of pregnant mothers were also perceived as being good.

Principal secretary of women and child development department of MP, JN Kansotia was present at the consultation. He conceded that there were still issues related to delivery of ICDS services, including caste-based discrimination and assured that the government would take up the findings of the report for betterment of implementation.

Right to food activist Sachin Jain highlighted the need of convergence of efforts of different government departments, need to hear out the issues faced by Anganwadi workers and need to ensure livelihood rights include forest rights for the people for better nutrition security.

Yogesh Kumar of Samarthan coordinated the proceedings. President of Ekta Parishad Ransingh Parmar and dietician Dr Amita Singh also shared thoughts.

Food and Nutrition security Project under ‘One World - No Hunger’ initiative of  the Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is being implemented in India and also globally by GIZ,  to fight against hunger and malnutrition. The project in Madhya Pradesh is being implemented by GIZ in partnership with Department of Women and Child Development and Welthungerhilfe along with local NGO partners.