Mangaluru, Dec 12, 2017: Karnataka government’s Mathru Poorna scheme is receiving poor response in Dakshina Kannada as only a few of the targeted women are taking meals provided under the scheme.
According to the available statistics, only 2,200 of the 28,740 pregnant and lactating women are availing themselves of the scheme’s benefits in the district.
The state government launched the scheme on October 2 with an intention of providing nutritious food to pregnant and lactating mothers. Prior to the project, nutritious food was supplied to the beneficiaries once a month, to take it home, cook and consume it. The Mathru Poorna scheme modified the system for the beneficiaries to personally visit the nearest anganwadi centres to have afternoon meals. This was to ensure that the nutritious food reached the beneficiaries and to avoid sharing of food items with family members.
Women and Child Welfare Department deputy director Sundar Poojary said, “The minister for women and child Welfare had convened a meeting of officials from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru districts, where the response to the scheme is poor till November 30. We have explained to the minister on the reasons for the poor response.”
Steps taken : He said further, “The department officials and anganwadi workers are visiting households to convince the beneficiaries to visit the anganwadi centres to have the food in the afternoons. In fact, when the project was launched, the officials had collected the phone numbers of all the beneficiaries to call and convince them to visit the anganwadi centres. However, the beneficiaries are not showing much interest in visiting the centres. There is a need to change the mindset of the beneficiaries.”
Poojary added, “The distance to the anganwadi centre may be one of the reason. However, in urban areas, the beneficiaries residing adjacent to the anganwadi centres too are not visiting the anganwadi centres to avail the benefit of the scheme.”
Old system wanted : Anganwadi Workers’ Association president Jayalakshmi said, “The women are finding it difficult to reach the centres. Pregnant women in Dakshina Kannada are taken care of with utmost care and do not wish to come to the centres to have meals. Further, working women cannot visit the centres in the afternoon. The beneficiaries are demanding the continuation of the earlier system of taking home the nutritious food.”
She also said, “We cannot make arrangements to provide cooked food for every beneficiary at her doorstep. In many villages, the houses of women are very far from anganwadis and this makes it difficult for the women to benefit from the scheme.”
Another anganwadi worker said: “There is a belief in the district that pregnant women should not go out during the first three months and lactating women should not go out for 45 days, which may be the reason for lack of interest shown by beneficiaries.”
The mid-day meal under the scheme comprises rice, rasam (saaru), egg, milk and groundnut ‘chikki’, which totally costs Rs 21 a beneficiary.