Pune: Release Immediate Rs 2,391 Crore Funds For ICDS Program, Beneficiaries Increase Due To Pandemic; Maha Gov To Centre

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Pranita Roy

Pune, December 18, 2020: The Maharashtra government has sought a quick disbursement of revised funds amounting Rs 2,391 crore for the year 2020-21 for the supplementary nutrition program under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme from the central government. The state minister for women and child development (WCD) advocate Yashomati Thakur met the central government’s WCD minister Smriti Irani with pending issues and demanded to provide the aforementioned package immediately in Delhi on Friday.

Thakur stated that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation has led to an increase in the number of beneficiaries, forcing a revised plan and the timely receipt of funds to keep the supplementary nutrition program running smoothly. Secretary of the Union Ministry WCD Ram Mohan Mishra, Secretary of the State Department of WCD Idzes Kundan, ICDS Planning Commissioner Indra Malo, Commissioner of WCD Rishikesh Yashod were present at the meeting.

The Maharashtra government had submitted an Annual Project Implementation Plan (APIP) of Rs 1,630.2 crore for the year 2020-21 to the Center in March 2020 for the supplementary nutrition program under the ICDS Scheme. However, owing to the pandemic situation, the scope of the supplementary nutrition program has to be increased. The number of beneficiaries of the supplementary nutrition program has increased by more than 7.27 lakh since April 2020 and more funds need to be allocated.

For this, the revised APIP of Rs 2,391 crore was stated by the Maharashtra minister and requested for its approval. She also said that the state government has allocated Rs 1,700 crore for this program in the current year. The number of beneficiaries of supplementary nutrition increased as migrant workers migrated to their hometowns. Many families have migrated to rural areas within the state and are benefiting from the supplementary nutrition program. Those who did not avail the ICDS services earlier are now availing the benefits of the scheme.

Moreover, schools are shut during Corona; children in the age group of 3 to 6 years studying in private pre-school (play school) who were not availing ICDS services are also currently being given the benefit of supplementary nutrition program. Therefore, the number of beneficiaries has increased by over 7.27 lakh from April 2020, she stated, adding that more provision should be made as per the revised plan.

“The central government has sanctioned Rs 554 crore to Maharashtra for implementation of innovative schemes under nutrition program as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission. Accordingly, the state government has also allocated Rs 277 crore. However, the central government has not yet distributed the provision. This funding is urgently needed to enable innovative initiatives for complementary nutrition,” said Thakur.