New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met Union Minister of Women & Child Development, Maneka Gandhi at Odisha Bhawan in New Delhi today.
The chief Minister apprised Maneka Gandhi that Odisha has achieved remarkable improvement in all nutritional and health indicators over last 10 years, as revealed by the National Family Health Survey-4.
Significant improvements have been registered in Infant Mortality Rate, Underweight children, Stunting among children, Exclusive Breast Feeding and Complementary Feeding.
Patnaik stated that the ongoing Integrated Child Development Services Programme needs to be further strengthened and urged upon the Union Minister to enhance the approved rate for supplementary nutrition, approve at least one Anganwadi Centre or Mini-Anganwadi Centre for every Hamlet in the tribal areas irrespective of population and increase the honorarium of Anganwdi Workers and Helpers.
He mentioned that 3385 Urban Centres in the State do not have pucca buildings of their own and impressed upon the Union Minister to provide Rs.250 crore for construction of Anganwadi buildings in these Centres.
He also urged that donations made to Juvenile Justice Fund may be exempted from Income Tax to mobilise additional resources and that Government of India may consider setting up an exclusive Juvenile Justice Academy in the State.
The union minister appreciated the efforts being made by Odisha to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and pregnant and lactating mothers. She informed that the State of Uttarakhand has introduced an innovative feeding system of providing nutritional mix of millets & peanuts in sachets for supplementing the nutritional needs of preschool children and mothers.
Maneka Gandhi suggested that Odisha may consider adopting a similar feeding system. Maneka also referred to seven One-Stop Centres for Women sanctioned for Odisha and desired that these may be made operational early.
She assured the Naveen that the issues raised by him would receive priority attention of the Union Government and that Central funds under ICDS will be released timely from the current year onwards.