Every third child in Gujarat is underweight: CAG
The CAG has lambasted the working of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in Gujarat, which is aimed at fighting malnutrition among children, saying that every third child in the state is underweight.
"Though there were 223.16 lakh eligible beneficiaries under Supplementary Nutrition (SN) programme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), 63.37 lakh beneficiaries were left out," the CAG said in its report, which was tabled in the state Assembly yesterday.
"As against the target of 300 nutrition days annually, shortfall in providing SN was up to 96 days. Every third child in the state was reported as underweight. Shortfall of 27 per cent to 48 per cent was noticed in the implementation of nutrition programme for adolescent girls," the report said.
The report further said that a population of 1.87 crore was deprived of the benefits of ICDS.
"Against the requirements of 75,480 Angan Wadi Centres (AWCs), 52,137 AWCs (69 per cent) were sanctioned and 50,225 AWCs were in operation in the state, thereby, a population of 1.87 crore was deprived of the benefits of ICDS," the report stated.
The report goes on to say that though the central government directed the state government in November 2008 to submit proposal for additional projects based on revised population criteria, the state did not forward any proposal.
The report also highlighted the lack of basic amenities (building, safe drinking water and toilets) in nine to 40 per cent of AWCs in the 123 projects in eight test-checked districts.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) had sanctioned a loan to construct 3,333 AWCs, but only 1,979 AWCs were constructed, the report said, adding that records regarding immunisation programme were not available with AWCs.