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PM Modi to launch several programs for women and children in Gujarat on June 18

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A program that focuses on the first 1,000 days of a woman’s pregnancy is part of a bouquet of several programs Prime Minister Narendra Modi is launching during his two-day trip to Gujarat as the state heads to the polls in December.

With a renewed focus on nutrition, the union’s Ministry of Women and Development is also pursuing an overhaul of its data on malnutrition, senior ministry officials said.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on the sidelines of a zonal meeting in Kevadia said three rounds of third-party assessments will take place on malnutrition figures in Poshan tracker, the Centre’s nutrition calculator.

It is a review of data to analyze the results of governments’ efforts. And to see if there is any area where changes can be made, Irani said. The World Bank is one of the third-party organizations that conducts assessments.

On Saturday, Modi will be in Vadodara where he will launch the Mukhyamantri Matrushakti Yojana and the Poshan Sudha Yojana. Under the MMY scheme, beneficiaries registered under the Gujarat government health system and part of the ICDS scheme enjoying the benefits of the Anganwadi scheme will receive four kgs of take-home ration.

This includes one kilo of tuvar dal, two kg of chana dal and one liter of groundnut oil. It will be an OTP-based delivery system, said Avantika Darji, co-manager of the Gujarat government’s ICDS system.

An amount of Rs. 811 has been set aside from the state budget and seven lakh women have been registered under a portal, she added. Delivery is an online process.

The other program that Modi is launching is the Poshan Sudha program under which pregnant and lactating women from the 14 tribal districts of Gujarat will be provided with a full meal five days a week. The program was first piloted in six districts and will be expanded.

The ministry’s reassessment of malnutrition figures is significant as NFHS data shows that 19% of Indian children aged 2 months to 6 years are severely malnourished (SAM). In parliament, Irani had said in April that Poshan Tracker data showed nearly 2% of children had SAM. The ministry said while the NFHS data was based on a sample of 6 lakh children, the tracker had real-time data of 1.8 crore children.

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