Girls' nutrition scheme finds no support

The Planning Commission has rejected a proposal to increase allocation for the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls – Sabla.

The scheme that has been mainly launched to improve nutrition and health among out-of–school girls in the age group of 11-18 years remained almost a non-starter in some states, the Planning Commission has noted.

According to sources, all the states together could not utilise even 50 per cent of the allocation.

The defaulter states include backward states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. Besides these states, the list also includes states like Kerala which is known for better implementation of social welfare scheme. States which have utilised the funds in a better way are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

The Women and Child Development Ministry had requested an increase of about 25 per cent over the previous allocation for the Sabla scheme on the ground that it would help improve the quality of the scheme.

According to sources, the Planning Commission, in a recent communication to the ministry, turned down the request for an increase of about Rs 177 crore in the allocation citing states’ failure to utilise the funds allocated to them.

Currently, the annual allocation for the scheme is Rs 750 crore.
It covers about 1 crore out-of-school adolescent girls in 200 districts of the country. Majority of the funds (over 65 per cent) is spent on nutrition and rest on skill development.

The scheme spends Rs 5 per day on the nutrition of an adolescent girl.

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