Lucknow: There is nothing like mother's touch to the meal given to a child. Acting firmly on this maxim, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to empower mothers of Anganwadi students to serve nutritious meal to their wards.

Apparently, close on the heels of Mid-Day Meal (MDM), the mothers of the region will now provide nourishing meal to their wards and make them healthy. Earlier, the state government had decided to authorize mothers to supervise the preparation and serving of Mid-Day meal.

Acting on the initiative of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) the scheme will be implemented in the Anganwadi centres of Saharanpur, Mathura, Jhansi, Kushinagar and Sitapur in the first phase.

Devendra Nath Verma, Director of Bal Vikas Sewa Evam Pushtahar (ICDS) says, “With the launch of the new scheme, the mothers will be accountable for enhancing the health of their kids. The mothers have been given the ownership of the programme and now they will have to ensure regularity in feeding nourishing food to their children under ‘Hot Cooked Food’ scheme.”

Under the novel initiative, the ICDS department has reconstituted maternal committees for running the ‘Hot Cooked Food’ scheme.

The move behind this to bring transparency in providing nutritious meal which is being given to the malnourished children in the age group of 3-6 years at Anganwadi centres. As part of the pilot project, the department has selected those mothers in the maternal committees for the five districts who are educated till class VIII and whose children are enrolled in the Anganwadi centres.

Their bank accounts have been opened to transfer the amount. Going by the progress status of the scheme, maternal committees have been set up in 900 Anganwadi centres against the strength of 1005 centres in Kadim, Sadauli, Gangoh and Nukkar of the selected Saharanpur district and their bank accounts have been made operational.

Other than Saharanpur, several centres in Mathura district have been selected which include Anganwadis in Mathura village, Navjheel, Baldevand Chaumuha; Mau Ranipur, Moth of Jhansi; Bishanpura, Padrauna, Captanganj, Nebua and Naurangiya of Kushinagar; Sidhauli, Kasmanda, Biswa and Rampur Mathura Anganwadis of Sitapur district.

Rs 58.71 crore sanctioned

The administration has sanctioned an amount of Rs 58.71 crore in advance on the monthly basis  for purchasing food items for 897 programmes being run in Anganwadi centres across the region under Integrated Child Development Scheme. This provision will be implemented every month starting from August. A Rs 17.43 crore has been sanctioned to meet the expenses for the month of June and July.