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Food for kids should go beyond paper

Since last year, this paper has been exposing the problem of malnutrition and deaths due to related diseases among children. The reports had made the Bombay High Court take notice of this and ask the State Government to form a committee in order to look into the issue. However, no committee has been formed so far.

Yesterday, we had a front-page report on 15 children who died due to malnutrition in the past two months barely 150 km from Mumbai. The report stated that last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh labelled the problem of malnutrition as a matter of national shame. Yet, in Maharashtra itself -- in the talukas of Jawhar and Mokhada -- there are about 550 malnourished children.

Obviously all promises and platitudes are forgotten once spoken on the political dais evincing the necessary applause. The government needs to form a committee on an urgent basis. Moreover, this committee has to take action and work towards a solution. There are a number of schemes to alleviate malnourishment. Most of these are myopic and remain on paper, rarely addressing the problem in a constructive manner.

Authorities have to step in to see that these children need to be adequately nourished with healthy food, and proper guidance and education is given to parents about what exactly constitutes malnourishment and how it can be combated in a healthy manner.

Parents have to realise the importance of population control. Illiteracy and poverty is bogging them down. Dubious tantriks, yearning for male child and a fatalistic attitude have to be changed -- it is only then that one can ensure health and happiness for one’s children. 

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