Pune: To overcome malnutrition in the State, the government has undertaken various schemes over the past few years. In the annual budget announced on Friday by the State government, it has been decided to start Village Child Development Center (VCDC) for the sixteen districts of the tribal areas and for severe acute malnourished children (SAM) in the non-tribal areas.
In budget 2018-2019, the State government has proposed to provide outlay of Rs 21.19 crore for the VCDC scheme. Experts working for malnutrition in these tribal belts feel that the existing systems should be strengthened instead of introducing new centres.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Abhay Bang, social activist and researcher working in the field of community health in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, said that the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is already in place and it addresses health, nutrition and primary education.
“The question is how is VCDC different from ICDS. ICDS has been functional from past 40 years and now the government wants to introduce a new system. There is a need to de-centre itself and go where the children are so that the mothers are educated. In my opinion, the centre-based approach is not very productive,” said Bang.
While talking about the amount of money allocated, Bang said that the tribal population is one crore in Maharashtra.
“Around 10 per cent population is under the age of five years, which makes it around 10 lakh children. It is an easy math, that per child, there would be only Rs 200 per month. The amount of money is not enough to fight malnutrition,” said Dr Bang.
He further suggested that the anganwadis play a very vital role as they include health, nutrition and primary education for children. “In this case, the primary goal should be to strengthen the anganwadis rather than setting up a new centre with the same function and a different name. I am not very hopeful about the outcome of all of it,” added Bang.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Vinita Tatke from Melghat Mitra said that the VCDC has been functional so far. If there are any changes in the scheme, then it is good otherwise it is the same schemes wrapped in a new package.
Investments in VCDCs
† To overcome malnutrition in the State, the government has undertaken various schemes over the past few years. It has been decided to start Village Child Development Center (VCDC) for the sixteen districts of the tribal areas and for severe acute malnourished children (SAM) in the non-tribal areas. It is proposed to provide outlay of Rs 21.19 crore for the scheme.