MP: Malnourished Child’s Video Goes Viral Amidst Row Over Alleged Fraud in Nutrition Scheme

Opposition demands CM’s resignation over alleged fraud in THR nutrition & distribution scheme; govt report says nearly 10 lakh children malnourished in state.


Bhopal: A week after being admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Somvati Mawasi, an eight-year-old malnourished tribal girl of Chitrakoot town of Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district,  has gained 600 grams of weight. She weighed a meagre seven kg when she was initially taken to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with acute malnourishment and juvenile diabetes, rare in children. According to her doctors, she is 15 kg underweight for her age and her blood sugar level has dropped to 110 which was around 700- seven times higher than the normal for children of her age.

When the doctors inquired about her family, Somvati’s aunt Seema, a daily-wage labourer explained, “her father abandoned her mother when she was pregnant. Her mother also abandoned her when she was three-year-old and went away with someone else.”

Since then she has been looked after by maternal aunt Seema and grandfather Kaku, a daily-wage labourer. Both failed to look after her as they leave home early morning in search of work while she remained alone at home.

She was also admitted to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) twice in 2019 and 2020 for 14-days each after she was spotted by a local Anganwadi worker. But she was discharged irrespective of her deteriorating health conditions as per the laid down rules, said a health officer adding that she should have been enrolled on Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as she was eligible for it.

“The health workers failed to spot her diabetic problem which was the main reason for her deteriorating health even though she was admitted to NRC twice,” the officer of the Women and Child Development Department told NewsClick.

“We are giving her insulin for a week as she is showing a sign of improvement,” he said. “We are also planning to rehabilitate her as she can’t be sent back to her aunt and grandfather who are living in destitute,” he added.

The District administration took up the call after a video of Somvati, a resident of Surangi Tola area of Chitrakoot town, created a buzz on social media which was noticed by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and he took cognisance of it.

Her video came at a time when the opposition Congress has been demanding CM Chouhan’s resignation over the alleged fraud of over 110 crore in the Take Home Ration (THR) nutrition and distribution scheme between 2018 to 2021. THR is given to kids between six months and three years of age, out-of-school adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women.

Satna, home to over 6,000 malnourished children, is among the eight districts of Madhya Pradesh where the THR nutrition and distribution scheme was underway and a 36-page government audit detected massive fraud in it.

A fortnight before Somvati was spotted, nine-year-old Sunaina Mawasi, another severely malnourished tribal girl from the Maihar area of Satna district died in the hospital. The girl was admitted thrice to NRC but did not recover. Yet, the health officials claim that she died of a respiratory disorder.

The leaked report of the Madhya Pradesh Accountant General office shows huge discrepancies in the THR component of the supplementary nutrition programme under ICDS run by the Women and Child Development Department- a department headed by CM Chouhan since March 2020. But the state government denies any such fraud citing an incomplete report.

Taking action over the issue, the Satna district administration terminated the services of the local Anganwadi worker and suspended her supervisor. Besides, the Child Development Project Officer of ICDS in the concerned area has been suspended by the Rewa divisional commissioner on the recommendation of the Satna district collector.  

Despite repeated attempts, Satna District collector, Anurag Verma and Chief Medical Health officer 10.32 Lakh Severely Malnourished Kids in MP

In a reply to the question of malnourishment among kids in the assembly in March 2022, the State government said that there are 10.32 lakh malnourished children and of them, 6.30 lakh are severely malnourished.

Replying to the question of BJP MLA Chaitanya Kashyap, the Chief Minister, who holds the Women and Child Development Department portfolio, replied in the assembly. The State has a total of over 65 lakh children between the age group of 0-5 years. Of them, 10.32 lakh are malnourished and close to 6.30 lakh children are put in the severely malnourished category. 

Chouhan affirmed that the situation of malnutrition has improved in districts and added that the state government is making efforts to eradicate malnutrition under various schemes including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bal Arogya and Poshan Mission.


Every third kid aged under 0-5 years in Madhya Pradesh is stunted or too short for their age, according to the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the ministry of health and family welfare this year.

The survey found that 36% of children under the age of five years are stunted, indicating that they have been undernourished for some time. The survey also pointed out that children’s nutritional status in Madhya Pradesh hasn’t changed much by all measures since the previous NFHS-4. Lack of complementary feeding to kids aged above six months is the cause behind inadequate diet causing under-nutrition.

Commenting on it, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasth Abhiyan told NewsClick, “corruption is a major reason for prevailing malnourishment in the state. Madhya Pradesh has over 6 lakh, malnourished kids, in 2012 and it’s the same even after a year.”

Emphasising tackling corruption in children’s budget, he pointed out, “Decline in health indicators in various reports suggests that the policies and money government spent to eradicate malnourishment is eating up by corruption. We have seen massive irregularity in the Take Home Ration scheme, this is the tip of the iceberg.”

Madhya Pradesh government has set up 313 NRCs in all blocks in rural areas in the state which is the highest in the country for taking care of these kids.

Courtesy: Newsclick



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