Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani held meetings with government officials in the city on Monday to take stock of Central schemes in the State. Senior officials said Ms. Irani expressed satisfaction with the steps taken by the government to reduce malnutrition in rural, semi-urban and urban areas while urging the need for more work on bringing down child deaths. The Member of Parliament from Amethi Lok Sabha constituency also reviewed the Centrally-funded Smart Anganwadi programme for rural areas, the immunisation programme for children, efforts to bring down child deaths, progress in POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) cases and other awareness programmes in the meeting, said officials.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior secretaries of the respective departments were also present during the meetings. The Maharashtra team appraised the minister of the mother and child healthcare initiatives taken by the State Government in the past five years. “The Chief Minister briefed her on various initiatives and programmes of the government for eliminating malnutrition and on mother and child healthcare. The minister appreciated Maharashtra’s consistency in keeping all the programmes on track,” said an official from the Chief Minister’s Office.
Ms. Irani said she was satisfied with the progress made by the government in implementing the programmes. “I have met and discussed with the Maharashtra Chief Minister nutrition programmes and initiatives. The development of anganwadis and programmes for eliminating malnutrition in rural, semi urban and urban areas is satisfactory and the work of the State government is commendable,” she said.
The State Health Minister had last week announced successful implementation of health measures and a dip in malnutrition deaths. Severe acute malnutrition is down to 219 in June 2019 from 861 in 2016, and moderate malnutrition to around 2,000 in June 2019 from 4,315 in 2016, he said. Mr. Shinde said government was even requesting village elders to encourage women to seek treatment at health centres.
Ms. Irani later chaired a meeting with officials at the Textiles Commissioner Office in the city to review the implementation of various schemes.