'Provide eggs to malnourished children'

State govt measure should reach all children below 6 yrs of age, says MLC Ivan D'Souza

MLC Ivan D’Souza has urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to announce in the budget a supply of eggs to children below six years of age at anganwadi centres.

“The supply should be made under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS ),” said the MLC. Briefing reporters here on Wednesday, he said that about 50 per cent of children in Karnataka are suffering from malnutrition.

“The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN) has asked to provide nutritious food to each and every child. There has been increase in malnutrition among children belonging to SC/ST, OBC and minority communities. Children who do not eat eggs should be supplied with bananas. Eggs are already supplied to the children below six years in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal,” insisted D’Souza.

He said that although the State government has been supplying eggs to malnourished children in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the benefit should reach all children.

“Following a rise in prices of essential commodities – including vegetables – the government should allocate additional funds to the ICDS. Instead of allocating Rs six for normal weighing children, Rs nine for malnourished children and Rs seven for adolescents and pregnant women for the supply of nutritious food, the government should increase the amount to Rs eight, Rs 11 and Rs nine respectively,” demanded the legislator.

Midday meal

Further, the MLC said that eggs were supplied to children in government schools under midday meal scheme. “Unfortunately, it has been stopped now. As a result, government schoolchildren are denied nutritious food. Eggs are still a luxurious and costly product for the poor. Hence, eggs should be included in the menu of midday meals,” he suggested.

D’Souza has urged the chief minister to earmark Rs 100 crore in the budget for the development of 11 wards situated in the interior areas of Mangaluru City Corporation. “Wards like Adyar, Jeppinamogaru, Bajal and Shaktinagara lack basic facilities including road, drinking water supply and drains. If the State government earmarks additional funds of Rs 100 crore, then integrated development of these 11 wards could be taken up,” he added.

To ease the drinking water woes of coastal districts, the government should earmark Rs 2,000 crore for the implementation of the Paschimavahini scheme, that aim at constructing check dams to increase the ground water table, he demanded.

“Although the government has constituted a Christian Development Council for the welfare of Christian community members, it has failed to utilise the funds earmarked in the budget. For the effective utilisation of funds and to ensure that it reaches the beneficiaries, the government should constitute a Christian Development Corporation,” said D’Souza.

“To give impetus to development of tourism in the coastal districts, the State government should constitute Coastal Tourism Development Corporation on the lines of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation. The State government should also announce support price for rubber and paddy in the budget” he suggested.

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