The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has said the Gujarat government has shown low number of malnourished children in the state by adopting different methodologies for calculation from those of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
The CAG report was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday.
"The Gujarat government claimed (2015-16) 4.85 per cent and 0.65 per cent children in the state were moderately malnourished and severely malnourished respectively.
"However, as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) of 2015-16 conducted by the (Union) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 38.50 per cent children were stunted, 26.40 per cent were wasted (moderately malnourished) and 39.30 per cent were underweight," the report said.
"Thus, the claim made by the state government was not consistent with the findings of NFHS-4," the CAG report said.
"In fact, the percentage of wasted children (under five years) in the state increased from 18.7 per cent (as per NFHS-3, 2006-05) to 26.40 per cent (NFHS-4, 2015-2016)," the CAG report further said.
"The main reason behind the variation was the methodologies adopted for calculating the same. The state government considers low weight for age (underweight) to calculate malnutrition whereas NFHS (as per the WHO norms) considers low weight for height (wasting) and low height for age (stunting)," the report further said.
"Thus, (as per Gujarat government) a short child gaining weight for medical reasons would be considered as healthy though being malnutritional as per WHO and NFHS norms," the report informed.
It said the state's women and child development department only utilised 77.72 per cent of its allocated grants between 2014-17.
The Supplementary Nutrition Programme, which aims at increasing nutritional level of children between six months and six years, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls, is run by this department.
Under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the beneficiaries receive supplementary nutrition through anganwadi centres.
The department could utilise only Rs 5200.90 crore (77.72 per cent) against Rs 6,691.90 crore grants received during 2014-17, the report said.
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