BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday launched the ‘Mathrupoorna’ scheme that ensures one meal a day for pregnant and lactating mothers. The scheme intends to address malnutrition and anemia that affects a majority of women and hence control to some extent maternal and infant mortality.
Inaugurating the scheme, Siddaramaiah said that more than 10 lakh women in the state, who were pregnant and lactating did not have access to nutritional meals and their children also suffered for the lack of it and hence the government decided to address this issue.
“These freshly prepared hot meals will be served to women at anganwadis in the afternoon and will have rice, sambar, egg, sprouts and greens along with milk. Karnataka is the second state after Telangana to have this scheme and this is a matter of pride to us,” he added.
He requested the anganwadi workers to work with the government and officials of the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) to make the programme a success. Last month, anganwadi workers had pointed out several issues with implementing the scheme including cutting the working time of the kitchen helpers, who already have to cook for the children and solving problems where women have to travel a long distance to the anganwadis to have the meal.
DWCD officials said they would be providing more cylinders and also two burner stoves to replace the existing one burner stove. They also tweaked the menu to have similar items for children and the women, to cut the cooking time of the cooks.
In coastal areas like Udupi and Karwar, because of the distance of two to three kms to some of the anganwadis, the Department is likely to allow someone in the family to collect the meal.
Anganwadi workers have also sought a higher pay for the cooks and this issue has not been resolved yet. They have also asked to be relieved from other duties like taking part in census and surveys.
Any pregnant woman can register with the anganwadis for the meal programme and have access to the meal for 25 days a month until six months after the child is born. The women will also be given iron and folic acid tablets and calcium tablets regularly along with deworming tablets. Keeping in mind the constraints and traditional practices of keeping women home, food will be sent home to those women for 30 days before delivery and 45 days after delivery. Am amount of `302 crore has been allocated in the budget for this programme.