Funds For Nutrition, BBBP Under-Spent And Diverted !
Governments at the Centre and states have spent only 56% of the funds allocated for the ‘poshan abhiyan’ (nutrition scheme), as told by the Centre ot the Parliament on Thursday. Union Minister Smriti Irani said in Rajya Sabha that of the ₹5,321 crore allocated for the scheme, only ₹2,985 have been used as yet. Besides, for other significant schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, the government spent ₹450 crore were spent only on advertising and promotion.
What Is The Poshan Abhiyan?
The Poshan Abhiyan was initiated in 2018 aimed at alleviating malnutrition. It sought to reduce hunger, low weight, and underweight birth of infants by 2022 by 2%, and bring down anaemia in children, teens, and women by 3% by the same year.
Uttar Pradesh Lags The Most In Utilizing Funds
Uttar Pradesh is one of the five states and UT’s where the funds for the Poshan Abhiyan are used the least, using only 33.73% of the total allocated budget.
The Hindu said on the basis of an ICDS-RRS report on 30 July, 2021 that there are 9,27,606 children between the ages of 6 months to 6 years who are acutely malnourished, of which 3,98,359 are from Uttar Pradesh alone.
Other than UP, Punjab (33.62%), Ladakh (31.2%), Puducherry (28.03%), and Arunachal Pradesh (25.14%) have under-utilized the funds for the Poshan scheme.
Four of the five states which have used the maximum funds allocated for the Poshan Abhiyan (Nutrition Mission) are from the North-Eastern part of the country. Nagaland (98.34%), Meghalaya (98.14%), Mizoram (94.22%), and Sikkim (93.13%) figure on the top of the list of such states, while Dadra and Nagar Haveli, a Union Territory, has utilized 88.2% of this fund.
A few months prior to the Centre sharing this information, the Global Hunger Index 2021 had placed India 101 out of 116 countries. He extreme condition of hunger and malnourishment has been flagged as a cause for concern. Under-spending funds meant for nutrition in this context is highly questionable.