Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said his government has started the process to set up a nutrition commission and formulate a state nutrition policy to redress the issue of malnutrition among children. Stating that action under the State Nutrition Mission would be taken according to the guidelines of UNICEF and WHO, Khattar said that the aim is “healthy child, healthy teenager, healthy mother and healthy Haryana”.
He was speaking at an event organised as part of the ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ programme. UNICEF has set three parameters to monitor nutrition level. These are age, weight and height. Haryana had the parameters of age and weight. Now the government would incorporate the parameter of height too, the Chief Minister said. He said it was sad that children are malnourished in Haryana, which is known as the ‘land of milk and yogurt’.
“According to the survey in 2013-14 by National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, 27.85 per cent children up to five years of age in Haryana were under weight, 34.1 per cent children were dwarf and weight of 11 per cent children were underweight as compared to their height,” an official release said.
Expressing concern over imbalanced sex ratio in the state, the chief minister said the government wished to implement ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ programme not in an official manner, but in an effective way. “We are seeking support of all sections of society and these be representatives of people, social workers, sociologists, intellectuals, distinguished personalities of the corporate sector,” Khattar said. “We are marching forward in scientific manner. We are also using Information Technology in innovative ways and laying stress on care of the female foetus,” he added.
United States Ambassador to India, Richard Verma who was present at the programme, said, “I would like to congratulate CM Mahohar Lal Khattar for initiating today’s ‘Call to Action’ to save and educate the daughters of the state. Haryana’s efforts to promote the health, education and development of women and girls are worthy of recognition.”
“The US is eager to partner with India and Haryana in support of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ goals. I am delighted to see the leadership from corporate and industry joining us for today’s event and supporting the cause through public-private partnerships,” he said.
The Haryana Chief Minister said that the state government is working on a three-pronged strategy to correct the imbalance in sex ratio. “First, we are strictly implementing the PNDT Act. Secondly, we are ensuring that girls take birth, brought up properly, have access to education and become self-reliant in life. Thirdly, we have started implementation of incentive based schemes to change the mindset of the people, which discriminates between boy and girl,” Khattar said.
“The government is taking strict action against those who violate the PNDT Act and MTP Act. As many as 1,170 registered centres were inspected during last three months. From April to June, 2015, registration of 13 centres was either suspended or cancelled under PC and PNDT Act,” Chief Minister Khattar said. “During the same period, 15 centres were sealed. There has been considerable improvement in conviction rate during last three months under PNDT Act,” he said.
“Out of the total 130 cases, conviction was ordered in 62 cases. Regular meetings of District Task Force, which has been constituted under chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner in every district, are being held to review the strict compliance of PC and PNDT Act,” he said.
The Chief minister said that the medicines being taken from quacks which claim to guarantee birth of male baby are very dangerous. “These medicines do not ensure birth of male child, but certainly lead to deformities in the foetus. This increases the possibility of still births. We will have to generate awareness against use of such medicines,” he said.
The average sex ratio of all districts of the state as in May, 2015 was 874 to 1,000 and in six districts, it was 900. “We are keen to improve this sex ratio up to 950 and for this, the government has also started incentive based schemes. The village with maximum sex ratio in the state would be awarded with Rs five lakh during 2015-16. Similarly, the village with maximum sex ratio at district level would be awarded with Rs 1.50 lakh during 2015-16,” he said.
This amount would be spent for giving scholarships to three meritorious girls of Class X. He said that the outcome of the deliberations of the event would prove very effective in the direction of women empowerment. He said that the Deputy Commissioner of a district has a significant role to play in the success of ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ programme. “Whether it is the issue of education of daughters, their health, their nutrition, check on sex determination, the Deputy Commissioner should play a pro-active role in this direction.”
He urged the representatives of corporate houses and NGOs to initiate many local programmes concerning education of daughters, their health and nutrition. “They can contact the Deputy Commissioners for any assistance in conceptualising and implementing such noble programmes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Haryana Women and Child Development Department to promote ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ campaign with a focus on PPP for gender, education and health systems strengthening in the state of Haryana through the route of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives from corporate and industry members of CII in the state.
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