Criticised by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for laxity in improving the nutrition levels of women and children, Madhya Pradesh has now increased its budgetary allocation to reduce malnutrition in the state.
The CAG had said that over 55 percent of children in the state suffered from malnourishment in the year 2004-05. "The impact of the implementation of Integrated Child Development Services was marginal on health and nutritional status of children, as more than 55 percent of the children were malnourished in the state," stated the CAG report.
The report further said: "Due to inadequate budget provision for nutrition and delay in release of funds to district offices, 52-62 percent children and 46-59 percent expectant and nursing mothers in the state were deprived of the nutritional support."
The state government has now earmarked Rs.3 billion this year for providing a nutritious diet to undernourished women and children. The allocation is said to be Rs.1.9 billion more than the previous year.
"The main beneficiary would be children, adolescent girls and expectant and nursing mothers who will get the supplementary nutritious diet from mother and child welfare centres (anganwadis)," said a women and child welfare department official.
The state's budget for the overall development of women and children this year has gone up to Rs.5.9 billion. "This would not only help improve the socio-economic condition of women in the state but boost the physical, mental and intellectual development of children who suffer from malnutrition," the official added.
Meanwhile, the CAG has also noticed instances of procurement of substandard nutritional food and non-observance of prescribed procedures in procurement.
Besides, the implementation and monitoring of the scheme has been largely effected due to a number of posts in the department remaining vacant and improper manpower planning, said the report.