Nutritious meals would be served daily to 12 lakh pregnant women and lactating mothers at child care centres across the state from October 2, said Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday night. “Besides nutritional supplements, counselling and other maternity benefits will be provided at the centres (anganwadis) under the Mathrupoorna lifecycle health scheme,” said the Chief Minister at a state conclave, organised by the ‘India Today’ media group here. In view of the state’s commitment to health for all, the government will unveil a free comprehensive ‘Arogya Bhagya’ scheme from November 1 to benefit 1.4 crore households across the state.
“Karnataka will be the first state in the country to provide universal health coverage as part of our commitment to social welfare,” asserted Siddaramaiah. Asserting that the state would soon be hunger-free, the Chief Minister said his government would serve more urban poor and migrant labour affordable food daily from October 2 under its ‘Indira Canteens’ across Bengaluru and in other cities and towns across the state subsequently.
“Breakfast for Rs 5 per plate, meals for lunch and dinner for Rs 10 per plate will be served in all the 198 civic wards across the city, extending it from 100 wards since August 16,” affirmed Siddaramaiah. The affordable food for the urban poor is complementary to the state’s subsidised food (Anna Bhagya) scheme since the last four years, under which 4 crore economically poor are given 7kg rice or wheat free per month.
“We are also giving milk for five days a week to around one crore students in state-run and aided schools under the ‘Ksheera Bhagya’ scheme and eggs twice a week to 60 lakh infants at care centres (anganwadis),” he recalled. Noting that empowerment was not possible without creating opportunities through investments in education and healthcare, the Chief Minister said the state had been providing free textbooks, uniforms and shoes to about 60 lakh students across the state.
“We are also giving bicycles to all students of class 8 in government and aided schools. We will soon gift laptops to 1.5 lakh deserving students in degree colleges across the state to access information online from the world over,” added Siddaramaiah. State Industries Minister R.V. Deshpande, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and Manipal Global Education Chairman Mohandas Pai participated in the day-long conclave.