Keonjhar: In a bid to boost immunity of children in pre-school age group, the Keonjhar district administration has decided to include ragi laddu in the morning snacks menu of all the anganwadi centres in the district under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
This innovative programme of Keonjhar district administration is the first of its kind attempt in the state.
A meeting in this regard was held at the collector’s office Thursday. In the meeting collector Ashish Thakare introduced the programme as ‘Stronger Children with Millets Power!’.
In the meeting, it was decided that two ragi laddus per week will be provided as morning snacks to pre-school children (between 3 to 6 years of age) enrolled under ICDS in Keonjhar district from July 2.
The core objective of the programme is to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and revive the age-old tradition of millet consumption, once prevalent among the tribal communities of Keonjhar. The entitlement per child is 2 laddus of 20 gms per week.
Inaugurating the pilot project Thakre said, “The first phase of the programme will cover 335 anganwadi centres of Sadar block, later the programme will be expanded to the Anganwadi centres of the entire district.”
“As the COVID protocols are currently in place, pre-cooked ragi laddu mix will be provided via home delivery for pre-school children. Laddus will be prepared at home by mothers and served to children until the anganwadi centres are opened. About one lakh children under 3257 Anganwadi centres in the district will be covered under this scheme till September 2020,” he added.
As the women in the SHG groups will prepare the laddus, it will also provide an additional source of income to them. Besides, the programme will also encourage ragi farmers as they will able to sell their produces at a reasonable price.
Total budget of the programme is set at Rs. 1.5 crore per annum and this will be funded by Keonjhar District Mineral Fund.