social welfare dept nagaland
Photo: social welfare dept nagaland

An NGO has accused Nagaland’s social welfare department of neither following the Supreme Court direction nor adhering to the Centre’s guidelines in awarding contracts for supply of micronutrient fortified food under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.

The Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF), in a statement recently, cautioned the department that not following court order and not adhering to the guidelines of the Centre would invite persecution under the law.

The ministry of women and child development, in a letter dated September 26, 2014 to all the states and union territories, sought strict implementation of the feeding norms while providing Take Home Ration (THR) under ICDS scheme.

The NPRAAF has appealed to the social welfare department to implement all schemes under ICDS strictly adhering to the government of India’s guidelines. It also urged the department not to take the matter lightly but to take action.

It also urged the social welfare department to strictly implement all the flagship programmes under Wheat Based Nutrition Programme (WBNP) and National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

The forum stated that under the programme the Centre has allocated food grains at the subsidized price not exceeding Rs 3 per kg for rice, Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Re 1 per kg for coarse grains.

Since the Nagas do not consume wheat, it said, the Centre converted wheat into rice in addition to state’s share of rice. As such, there should be sufficient rice to distribute to the targeted beneficiaries, it added.

The NPRAAF further pointed out that the ministry of women and child development has enhanced the supply of rice to the state from 4061 metric tons to 5000 plus metric tons of rice (converted from wheat) just in one quarter of fourth quarter allocation annually to Nagaland.

Therefore, the forum said, the state government should be in a position to distribute the food adequately.

It also appealed to department to make good use of National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) fund to help the old age, differently-abled and the poor.

The NPRAAF said it would submit a memorandum to social welfare department in relation to improvement in dispensation of ICDS programme in the larger interest of the state and the targeted beneficiaries.

The ministry of women and child development had emphasized the need for procurement of supplementary nutrition food in accordance with the guidelines of the Government of India. The ministry communicated to all the secretaries/incharge of ICDS that “bona fide manufacturer” who fulfills the norms and standard laid down in the policy of government of India dated February 24, 2009 and direction of the Supreme Court on August 19, 2011 can be considered for supply of micronutrient fortified food.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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