Gujarat govt launches Purna project against under-nutrition

Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today launched the state-wide Prevention of Under-Nutrition and Reduction of Nutritional Anaemia among Adolescents (PURNA) Project under the aegis of the State Women and Child Development Department to control malnutrition among girl child and adolescents at a workshop at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. His speech was telecast through BISEG satellite to connect women in Anganwadis in the state.

He called for making the project a people’s movement to create an asset to pay demographic dividend, necessary for the health and fitness of the future generation in any state or nation. It should be a matter of concern for the entire society, and not just the government. The State Government has allocated Rs.270-cr for the project.

Mr. Rupani said the government has launched the Dudh Sanjivani Yojna for providing milk to children in Anganwadis in tribal areas. The need is to provide nutritional food to infants for 1,000 days from birth. About half a dozen districts in the state are still behind in nutrition, demanding special attention for adolescent girls and lactating mothers. Dahod and Narmada were ranked 13 and 14 respectively among 117 aspirational districts declared by the Centre. Dahod now ranks Number One.

He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the nationwide nutrition mission from Jhunjhun in Rajasthan on March 8 last to achieve this basic need – as several other projects like Jan Dhan, Ujjwala, Save Girl, Educate Girl, Ban Foeticide, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment – linked to the nation’s bright future.

Minister of State for Women’s and Child Development Vibhawariben Dave said that 60-lakh women particularly in the 14-18 age group would be benefitted under PURNA through 53,000 Anganwadis in the state.

Union Government’s Women’s and Child Development Joint Secretary Rakesh Shrivastava said the World Bank advanced Rs.9,046-crore loan for PURNA to cover 718 districts, to begin with 550 districts, and the remaining 168 districts by January 2019. It will be monitored real-time as Anganwadi workers would get mobile phones.

Gujarat Chief Secretary J.N. Singh described the project as a challenge to fight malnutrition, need to make the administration fighting fit. He said the Gujarat Government decided to provide 16,000 metric tonnes of nutritious food items like double fortified iodised salt per month to 42-lakh beneficiaries through Take Home Ration scheme under ICDS.

Union Joint Secretary Women’s for Child Development Rajesh Kumar, Gujarat’s Secretary Milind Torwane and Commissioner Manisha Chandra also spoke.

Those present on the occasion included Gujarat Mahila Ayog Chairperson Lilaben Ankolia, Bal Ayog Chairperson Jagritiben Pandya and others.

The workshop on PURNA is being attended by Mayors and Municipal Commissioners, District Panchayat Presidents, Women’ and Child Committee Chairpersons, District Development Officers, CDPO, ICDS and NGOs engaged in nutrition movement. The inaugural session was followed by four technical sessions, e-stock cards and thematic calendars.

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