Children between three to six will now get one boiled egg along with meals at least six days a week at anganwadi centres across Jharkhand under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) of the Centre, the state cabinet decided on Tuesday
So far, children were provided eggs three days a week at the over 30,000 anganwadi centres run across the state, officials from the Women, Child Development and Social Security department of Jharkhand said, adding that the cabinet move would help the state fight malnutrition among children in rural Jharkhand and address the protein deficit in their daily diet.
Under the ICDS, children between six months to six years and pregnant and lactating mothers are provided dry ration, supplements and meals at Anganwadi centres to meet their daily nutritional needs to combat malnutrition, which has been a growing concern in the Jharkhand hinterland.
However, while the government had earlier announced to provide three eggs per week to children at anganwadi centres, right to food activists claim that many Anganwadi centres were yet to receive regular supplies of eggs to meet the demand.
“As per an earlier government decision, children at anganwadi centres were supposed to get at least three eggs every week. But most anganwadi centres have not received sufficient supplies to meet the demand,” said Siraj Dutta, an activist associated with the Right to Food campaign in Jharkhand.
All anganwadi centres in Jharkhand have remained closed as a precautionary measure against Covid-19. However, children and mothers are being provided food at home during this period, the government claims.
Besides adding more eggs to the meals provided to children at anganwadi centres, the Jharkhand Cabinet on Tuesday also approved several road construction projects worth over Rs 150 crore in various districts of the state, Cabinet Secretary Vandana Dadel said.
The Cabinet also hiked the House Rent Allowance (HRA) and Dearness Allowance (DA) of state government employees under fifth pay commission, seventh pay commission and those under unrevised pay grade, officials said.
The Cabinet gave its approval for setting up a Pharma Park at Bijupara in Barhi worth over 34.94 crore. The Pharma Park will be a hub of various pharmaceutical companies, officials said.
Besides, in a bid to encourage easy and accessible higher education, the Cabinet approved setting up an open university in the state, said the Cabinet Secretary. Through this open university, working professionals will also be able to pursue higher studies without having to attend in-person classes, sources said.
The Cabinet also approved recruitment of professors and assistant professors for the government medical colleges in Jharkhand to address the shortage of teachers in the medical colleges.