Budget 2018: Over three-fold increase in National Nutrition

New Delhi, Feb 1  The National Nutrition Mission (NNM) under the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has received a major boost in the Union Budget with an over- three-fold increase in its budget for the next financial year.

An amount of Rs 3,000 crore has been set aside for it, as compared to Rs 950 crore last year.

However, this was on expected lines as the Union Cabinet had, in December last year, approved Rs 9,046 crore for the NNM for a period of three years (2017-2020).

The NNM strives to reduce the level of stunting, under- nutrition, anaemia and low-birth weight babies and aims to benefit 10 crore people across the country.

A total amount of Rs 24,700 crore has been set aside for the WCD ministry for the next financial year, a paltry one per cent increase over the Rs 21,236 crore allocated to it last year. A major chunk of it — Rs 16,334 crore — is for anganwadi services.

Despite demands from activists for increasing the allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, the scheme has in fact seen a marginal drop with Rs 2,400 crore set aside for it.

The programme provides Rs 6,000 each to pregnant women and lactating mothers to compensate them for wage loss. An amount of Rs 2,594 crore was granted last year to the programme, which aims to benefit 51.6 lakh women.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Beti Bachao Beti Padhao will get Rs 280 crore as compared to Rs 200 crore for the current financial year.

An amount of Rs 500 crore will be transferred to the Nirbhaya Fund, which was set up to enhance the safety of the women. This takes the total amount in the fund, since it was instituted in 2013, to Rs 3,500 crore.

An amount of Rs 725 crore has been set aside for child protection services in the budget.

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