Women and Child Development Ministry to seek ₹37,000 crore loan to execute schemes


Ministry plans research centre on child development.

The Women and Child Development Ministry plans to seek loans totalling ₹37,179 crore from five different multinational development banks to implement new and existing schemes, including a research centre on child development as well as plantation of 200 million trees under mission Kalpatru to eradicate malnutrition.

The Ministry has sent its proposals to the Department of Economic Affairs for approval and the documents have been reviewed by The Hindu.

The Ministry is planning to apply for a loan of ₹14,600 crore from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, ₹11,550 crore from Japan International Cooperation Agency, ₹7,300 crore from New Development Bank (formerly BRICS Development Bank), ₹3,650 crore from Asian Development Bank and ₹79 crore from GIZ (German Development Cooperation). Each of these funds have been sought for a period of four years and 11 months from April 2021 to March 2026.

The additional support cover the entire gamut of programmes under the Ministry, including safety of women, child protection and delivery of nutrition. The Ministry received ₹24,435 crore in the Budget for financial year 2022.

It is already implementing Poshan Abhiyaan or Nutrition Mission at a cost of ₹9,000 crore for three years from 2017, half of which is funded through a World Bank loan.

The Ministry has sought a loan of ₹11,550 crore from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will be supplemented by another ₹11,550 from the Centre. The total amount of ₹23,100 crore will be spent on yet to be announced Mission Kalpatru, under which the government plans to plant 200 million trees as “food forests” for long-term nutritional requirements. It will also establish 14 million Poshan Vatikas (Nutrition Gardens) at all anganwadis in the country, conduct awareness and assign community ownership of the food forests. This, it says, will ensure easier access to fresh produce and promote Atmanirbhar Bharat.

With a funding of ₹14,600 crore from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Ministry aims to augment the infrastructure of its various institutions, including ‘One Stop Centres’ for survivors of gender-based violence, anganwadis and children’s homes. This will include water supply, electricity back-up, provision for stoves, digital infrastructure for last-mile connectivity. The Ministry plans to rope in the private sector for maintenance of these facilities.

With a loan of ₹7,300 crore from the New Development Bank, too, the Ministry plans an infrastructure upgrade vis-a-vis sanitation, setting up child-friendly toilets, provision of safe disposal of sanitary napkins and ensuring awareness about health and sanitation measures.

With a loan of ₹3,650 crore from the Asian Development Bank, also matched by the Central government, the Ministry aims to focus on early childhood education, adolescent development programmes, child protection and adoption services. The Ministry has mooted a national child development resource centre for research, design, outcome tracking, service delivery support and development of curriculum for activity-based learning at anganwadis at children’s homes.

The loan of ₹79 crore from GIZ will be spent on nutritional development of women and children through implementation of nutrition gardens and adoption of AYUSH measures and traditional wisdom.

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