MARCH 30 2015 INDIAN EXPRESS NEERJA CHOWDHARY


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Children eating mid-day meal / Picture from Indian Express

The most important priority for any government in India today should be the health and nutrition of its children. This is a matter of emergency. In many ways, it is more important than even education. Why then has an otherwise sensitive finance minister slashed the budget in the health and nutrition sectors so badly?

The budgetary allocations on health and nutrition programmes for children, who are the most vulnerable, have dipped to Rs 11,093 crore from Rs 21,668 crore last year. In December 2014 itself, the finance minister reduced the health budget by 18 per cent, thereby lowering the base for future allocations. This year, he increased allocations by 2 per cent, but on the revised estimates. This adds up to a 16 per cent cut on last year’s outlays.

The Integrated Child Development Services, the world’s biggest social programme, in existence since 1975, which caters to the needs of women and young children, providing midday meals, take-home rations, counselling…continue reading

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