Jharkhand is counting its eggs to improve nutrition of children and expecting mothers

Jharkhand is counting its eggs to improve nutrition of children and expecting mothers

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#Jharkhand is counting its eggs to improve nutrition of children and expecting mothers. Know more. http://bit.ly/1MhtWhM

The National Food Security Act entitles 80% of Jharkhand’s population to highly subsidised food grains. Read more. http://bit.ly/1MhtWhM

Last year on July 4, the Right to Food campaign in Jharkhand was successful in advocating for eggs to be included in mid-day meals in schools.

To mark one year of a successful public campaign a state wide ‘Anda Abhiyan’ was launched on July 3, 2015 to demand:

1.Introduction of eggs in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

2.Strict implementation of the government order providing for three eggs a week in schools

3.Immediate roll out of the National Food Security Act with enhanced entitlements.

Jharkhand is yet to implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA). Despite the announcement by the Government of Jharkhand to implement the Act, it is yet to be implemented. 

The local civil society groups and organizations of the state are actively advocating for its implementation and have also submitted a draft rule to the Government.  

Improving nutrition

The demand comes in the light of improving the nutrition of small children, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Anganwadi centres.  

It seeks to replace the ready-to-eat packaged food that are currently being distributed by private contractors in violation of Supreme Court orders. Instead of being served locally produced nutritious food, infants, pregnant women and lactating mothers are given packaged ready-to-eat food items.

The National Food Security Act entitles 80% of Jharkhand’s population to highly subsidised food grains under the Public Distribution System (PDS). Rural population is entitled to receive rice at the rate of Rs 3 per kilo, wheat at Rs 2 per kilo and millets at Re 1 per kilo. 

The Act makes a daily nutritious meal for every child a legal right. Every pregnant woman is to get a maternity entitlement of Rs 6,000. Given that Jharkhand has some of the highest levels of under nutrition in India, this Act is of enormous importance to the state.

On July 3, the Right to Food Campaign took the initiative to serve boiled eggs to more than 20,000 children under the age of six in 800 Anganwadi centres across the state.

They also engaged with Panchayats, local bodies and social activists despite arguments from vegetarian lobbyist against the distribution of eggs. An egg is almost a full meal for a young child – it has all the essential nutrients except Vitamin C.  

Many Indian states have started providing eggs with midday meals, either in schools or in Anganwadi centres or both. 

Hence, the consideration to finally include eggs as part of child nutrition schemes in the state by Jharkhand Women and Child Development minister, Louis Marandi comes as a validation to the rigorous efforts of the Right to Food campaign.  

 

 

Written by: Oxfam India staff

Photo credit: Nikhiliesh Kumar, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights

 


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