Centre to provide smartphones for promoting ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’

New Delhi: The Central government on Wednesday decided to provide smartphones, instead of tablets, to Anganwadi workers to promote the “Poshan Abhiyaan” nutrition scheme, an official statement said.

“Some states have highlighted problems in procurement of tablets for Anganwadi supervisors. The issue was discussed and decided that smartphones may be procured for Anganwadi supervisors instead of tablets,” said a statement by the Women and Child Development Ministry.

The decision was taken here in the first meeting of national council on India’s nutrition challenges under ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’ which was chaired by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.

The meeting was also attended by Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Woman and Child Development Secretary Rakesh Srivastava, ministers from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh and District Collectors of eight districts.

According to the ministry, it was also decided that direct transfer of funds to states and union territories for “cash award to front-line functionaries” will be applicable instead of creation of corpus fund after consultation with the Finance Ministry.

In the meeting, it was also concluded that by July 2018, ‘Swasth Bharat Preraks’ are likely to be deployed in 315 districts of Phase I who would function as a catalyst for fast-tracking the implementation of the scheme.

“The first lot of 40 Swasth Bharat Preraks is being dispatched by end of the month and would be available at district level to assist the staff in smooth roll-out. Under the scheme, the ‘Preraks’ will be deployed one in each district for coordinating with district officials and enabling fast and efficient execution of the Abhiyaan across the country,” it said.

As many as 315 districts were already covered under phase-I of the mission while 235 additional districts have been confirmed as part of Phase II of the scheme. The balance of 167 districts out of 718 districts will be covered in Phase III of the Abhiyaan.

The nutrition scheme was launched earlier in March from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan on International Women’s Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the aim of bringing down stunting of the children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4 per cent to 25 per cent by the year 2022.

The Council which has been set up under ‘Poshan Abhiyaan’ is the apex body to formulate overall policies, guide and monitor all nutrition based schemes and submit its report to the Prime Minister every six months.