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RSS’s offshoot Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has urged the government to not rely on dietary supplement packets to help malnourished children since it will benefit large corporations.
The SJM said the programme to begin ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) begun in BJP-ruled Rajasthan and Maharashtra has proved to be an expensive and unsustainable exercise.
More than a third of all children in the country are underweight, government surveys have found, prompting officials to look at the option of feeding children RUTF. These food packets are usually a protein, carbohydrate, lipid and vitamins and minerals that are dissolved in water and given to children.
The SJM, which has earlier taken on the NITI Aayog for supporting privatisation of health care, is concerned that introducing RUTF would benefit private players.
SJM has alleged that that the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement that has roped in three state governments- Maharashtra, Jharkhand and UP, as its members have a business network called SBN with majority of its members in food businesses promoting ready-to-use foods.
The SJM has drawn attention to the prevalence of malnutrition, pointing out that more than 44 million children under the age of five remain chronically undernourished in India.