Tepid response to Mathru Poorna scheme in DK

Tepid response to Mathru Poorna scheme in DK

The state government’s ambitious Mathru Poorna scheme has received a tepid response in Dakshina Kannada, as only 12% progress has been achieved.

Under the scheme, the pregnant and lactating women have to visit nearest anganwadi centre to consume the nutritious meal in the afternoon. After 10 months of rolling out of the scheme, however, the beneficiaries have failed to visit anganwadi centres to consume the meals.

In Dakshina Kannada, the target is 12,762 pregnant and 12,126 lactating women. In April, 1,814 (14%) pregnant woman and 1,495 (12%) lactating women, in May, 1,561 (12%) pregnant women and 1,309 (11%) lactating women, June, 1,511 (12%) pregnant and 1,313 (11%) lactating women have availed of the benefits.

When the scheme was introduced on October 2, 2017, the Women and Child Development Department had identified 29,468 beneficiaries, including 14,294 pregnant women. In January 2018, 12,762 pregnant and 12,126 lactating women were identified. There are 2,104 anganwadi centres in the district.

The anganwadi workers and assistants have been asked to take food with the beneficiaries. The state government had announced Rs 500 additional honorarium for anganwadi workers and Rs 250 for anganwadi assistants under the scheme.

The beneficiaries are given rice with sambar, palya, eggs, milk and chikki made of groundnut and jaggery. Those who do not eat eggs are given sprouted pulses. On Tuesday and Thursday, they are served gruel and chutney.

During the recently held review meeting, Minister for Women and Child Development Jayamala had directed the department officials to rethink of the strategy to implement the scheme effectively. “The state government intent to ensure that all the beneficiaries visit the nearest anganwadi centres and have the meals offered. We want nutritious food to be provided to every beneficiary to ensure that they do not suffer from malnutrition and become anaemic,” said the minister.

Jayamala had also suggested sending cooked food from anganwadi centres to the beneficiaries’ houses.

An anganwadi worker said, “The distance from their houses to the anganwadi centres may be one of the reasons for the poor response. In urban areas, however, the beneficiaries residing adjacent to the centres too are not visiting the centres. There is a belief that women should not go out in the open in the first three months pregnancy and lactating women should not go out for 45 days. This may be another reason for the poor response from the beneficiaries.”

Sundar Poojary, deputy director for Women and Child Development, said all efforts have been made to reach out to the targeted beneficiaries.

“In spite of it, the response has been poor. In a review meeting, the chief minister too had discussed on the poor response to the scheme in Dakshina Kannada and a few Malnad districts,” he added.

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