Maneka does damage control after criticising govt policy in interview

Maneka does damage control after criticising govt policy in interview

Caught in a controversy following her interview to international news agency Reuters, Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi Tuesday has clarified that she had never criticised the Narendra Modi government's policy on spending on the programme to fight child malnutrition.

She has also sought an apology from the agency and lodged a complaint with the Press Council of India (PCI) in this regard.

After interviewing her, the agency reported that she was critical of budget cuts in the programme to fight malnutrition. The report said, “in a rare public criticism” of Modi’s policy, she said, “Budget cuts had hit the main program (ICDS) to fight child malnutrition”, and made it “difficult to pay wages to health workers” of the programme.

The agency said Maneka had indicated that the additional money given in July was not enough.

The WCD Ministry has issued a strongly worded statement to steer the minister clear of the controversy.

It has also asked for an “unconditional apology” and reported to the PCI and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting “for necessary action on their part”.
In her clarification, Maneka has said, in the interview she only criticised the state governments for not spending adequately on the scheme.

“The minister had said the government has accepted the Finance Commission's recommendations on increased devolution of funds to states in the hope that they would be able to commit necessary additional resources for meeting the objectives of the social sector schemes,” said the WCD ministry statement.

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