ICDS only to be restructured not centralised: Govt

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (UNI) The Government today clarified that there was no proposal to centralise the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) but only a proposal to restructure it.

Replying to a supplementary in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Choudhary said the proposal is to implement the restructured plan in a Mission Mode during the 11th plan.

''It is a deliberate attempt to vilify the plan and confuse the country....It comes under the state subject. The Ministry is pressurising the state governments to ensure that the benefits of the programme reach the target population,'' she said in reply to the question raised by NCP member Supriya Sule.

The Minister said infrastructure had to be created to address the issue of malnutrition among young mothers and children.

She pointed out that Aanganwadi programmes lacked the basic facilities like providing drinking water, clean toilets and classrooms.

Left leader Brinda Karat then raised the question of promoting packaged food over freshly cooked food for the ICDS plan, therefore letting MNCs make money from the scheme. She also pointed out the Planning Commission, during the 10th plan, had favoured supply of packaged over the freshly cooked food.

The Minister took objection to this and said, ''Please don't attach motive to our decisions''.

''The Ministry has more constitutional authority than the Planning Commission to take decision in this regard,'' said an irked Ms Choudhary.

This prompted BJP Chief whip S S Ahluwalia to say the Planning Commission was headed by the Prime Minister.

Then BJP member Arun Shourie said a member of another ''unconstitutional'' body, the National Advisory Board had pointed out in a note the falsification of records about the declining rate of malnutrition among children.

UNI NR RR RAI1353

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