The Maharashtra government has approved a scheme named APJ Abdul Kalam Amrut Yojna, for expecting and lactating women in the tribal areas of the state. The scheme aims to provide at least one full, hot, nutritious meal to every pregnant lady and lactating mother. To be rolled out from November 15 and estimated to cost the state exchequer Rs 75 crore per annum, the scheme will benefit around 1.9 lakh women in the first year. It is to be implemented through anganwadis and each meal is estimated to cost Rs 22.
The highlights are:
* Free hot cooked meal will take into consideration the beneficiary's food preference; food will be provided for six months, beginning from the third trimester of pregnancy to three months after delivery; the meal will include pulses, rice, fruits, vegetables and boiled eggs with an occasional supply of milk.
* Anganwadi workers, tribal women and local meal committees will implement the scheme.
* Women and Child Welfare Department will give Rs 10 crore as stipend to anganwadi workers.
* Four-member meal committee will be constituted in every tribal village across 16 districts.
* Woman panchayat member will head the committee, along with two pregnant or lactating mothers and an anganwadi worker.
* The implementation of the yojna will ensure that the babies benefit during the lactation period, which will eventually help curb malnutrition among tribal children.