I am grateful to the Prime Minister for leading the Poshan Abhiyan from the front. It was actually his idea that unless we convert our efforts to eliminate malnutrition into a Jan Andolan, these efforts will have limited success.
Over the last 4 years, we have been putting the pieces of puzzle together so that the fight against malnutrition can be taken up in a mission mode. The first aspect we dealt was the increase of daily cost norms for the beneficiaries of the ICDS Programme. The second was to have a technology based real time monitoring system of the Anganwadi services. These two have been put in place. The third aspect was the identification and elimination of fake beneficiaries which is an ongoing process. We have already eliminated approximately one crore fake beneficiaries from the system. The fourth piece has been announced today by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on the long standing demand of the Anganwadi workers to increase their honorarium. The honorarium of Anganwadi workers and Anganwadi helpers is being increased by 1½ times from the existing amount. The Anganwadi workers will be given Rs. 4500/- instead of Rs. 3000/-, Mini Anganwadi worker will be given Rs.3500/- instead of Rs.2250/- and the Anganwadi helper will be given Rs. 2250/- instead of Rs. 1500/- per month. This will boost their morale and help improve the delivery of services by the frontline workers and will in turn help to achieve the goal of Poshan Abhiyan.
With these steps, we have launched the Poshan Abhiyan and we are taking the message of good, healthy and hygienic nutrition to all the targeted beneficiaries. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues in the Cabinet who have partnered with us in the Poshan Abhiyan. We are bringing a convergence of Government services at the ground level from the Ministries of WCD, Health, Rural Development, Tribal Affairs, HRD, Drinking Water & Sanitation, among others. All these efforts are aimed to convey the message that the health and well-being of the children is the top most priority for the Government.