Of ₹2,555 crore allocated in 2018-19, only ₹568.72 crore spent; utlisation of mere 22 per cent
The take-up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) or Poshan Abhiyaan has been slow, reveals an analysis of statistics on status of funds released and spent.
Of ₹2,555 crore released by the Central and State governments in 2018-19, only up to ₹568.72 crore (22 per cent) was spent, according to a study of papers tabled in Parliament. The huge unspent amount has meant that there was no release of funds for States by the Centre in 2019-20.
The fund utilisation is the lowest in Punjab. The State spent merely ₹30.88 lakh of ₹60.9 crore released– a utilisation of 0.50 per cent– in 2018-19. Kerala too has paltry utilisation at 2.12 per cent as it managed to use only ₹1.37 crore of ₹64.91 crore released.
Kerala and Punjab though are front-runners in health index, according to the latest report compiled by government think-tank NITI Aayog.
Assam, Delhi, Haryana and Jharkhand have used 5-6 per cent of funds allocated to them. Low utilisation of funds in case of Jharkhand and Assam is particularly worrisome because as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4, 2015-16), Jharkhand had 24 districts with prevalence of stunting in children under five while Assam had eight such districts. In both States, prevalence of stunting was higher than the national average.
Chhattisgarh has spent close to 16 per cent, with an expenditure of ₹15.5 crore out of ₹ 96.29 crore allocated.
In Uttar Pradesh, which is worse off according to NITI Aayog, the utilisation stands at 20.23 per cent as it spent up to ₹59.86 crore of ₹295.82 crore released. In case of Bihar, ₹53.80 crore of ₹150 crore was shown spent, with a utilisation rate of 35.86 per cent.
States in North-East and Union Territories are the best in the mission. Meghalaya has utilised ₹15 crore of ₹17.13 crore (88.28 per cent) and Dadra Nagar Haveli has spent ₹1.23 crore of ₹1.29 crore (95.87 per cent) .
NNM was set up with a three-year budget of ₹9,046.17, starting 2017-18, of which the central share is ₹2,849.54 crore. In 2017-18, while ₹584.53 crore was released, utilisation of only ₹119.74 (0.20 percent) was recorded by one State, Tripura. NNM, as an apex body, monitors, supervises, fixes targets and guides nutrition-related interventions across the Ministries.