The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an increase in cost norms for supplementary nutrition provided in anganwadi centres that would benefit 11 crore children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its nod to the new norms according to which per day cost per beneficiary has been increased to Rs 8 from Rs 6 for children between six months to three years.
For pregnant women and lactating mothers, the revised cost would be Rs 9.5 from Rs 7. The severely malnourished children would now get supplementary nutrition worth Rs 12.5 from an existing Rs 9, according to new guidelines.
Cost norms for nutrition provided to adolescent girls between the age of 11-14 years have also been revised to Rs 9.5 from Rs 5 under the Sabla scheme.
The government under its flagship Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS ) provides morning snack which can be milk, banana, fruits or micronutrient food at an anganwadi centre to children aged six months to three years.
Pregnant women, lactating mothers and severely malnourished children can take the food home.
There are about 13.5 lakh anganwadi centres in the country.
The "government will, over the next three years, invest an additional Rs 12,000 crore for the nutrition of pregnant and lactating women, children in the age group of 0 to 6 years, and out-of-school adolescent girls," an official statement said.
"This addresses a long standing anomaly and ensures that the changes in norms keeps pace with changes in costs on an annual basis."
This follows the decision by the government to provide cash benefits to pregnant and lactating mothers under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, and is part of an effort to improve the nutritional status of women and children, the statement said.