MATHRU PURNA- another Entrapped element of CAST

Davangere Taluk

The “MATHRU PURNA” scheme was brought into effect by the Karnataka Government on October 2017. The main aim of this programme is to provide nutritious food to pregnant women in rural Karnataka.

Women are given two eggs, pulses, rice and one glass of milk. But there is an old saying that what is written on paper is not always the same in reality.  This proved to be right again as in one of the Taluks i.e. Honnali , this scheme is not implemented properly and not accessible to all the needy women.

In October, 2017, out of a total of 3678 enrolled pregnant and lactating women of the Honnali Taluk in Davangere district in Karnataka, only 3000 women used the Mathru Purna scheme.  In November, the number went up to 3242 and then dipped to 2948 in December and 2919 in January 2018.

Of 173 villages in this taluk, in about 70 of them, houses are built separating the various caste groups.  Ms Meenakshi, nurse at Arabagatta village Primary health centre said that this has been the tradition. Now, this is interfering in the health sector as well.  This is visible even in primary health centres.   The anganwadis claim that food reaches everyone but this is far from the truth.

Vasu, first division assistant and Ishrat Bano, head of the Women and Child department of the Honnali Taluk said that caste is the major problem because of which some women are afraid to go to the anganwadis for food.

This problem is severe for the pregnant women. If their health gets affected due to this reason then their babies will be affected even more.   These women have become targets of discrimination in society.  Ironically, this is an  issue among the women themselves.

Ishrat Bano said they are doing their best to stem this problem as soon as possible through various awareness programmes.  So far they have not succeeded.

K H Chandrappa, former officer at Information and Broadcasting department, Bangalore said “Every day, a new scheme is launched by the government of Karnataka for the welfare of the rural section but the sad thing is that it is not followed. In this case, the anganwadis are not functioning properly even if they say they are”.

Mr Chandrappa, a native of Kodigenahalli village feels that the anganwadis in his village and some surrounding villages are worthless as they do not function at all. “Half of the anganwadis are closed permanently,” said Mr Chandrappa.

In AK colony, where all the scheduled castes live, the anganwadis claim that there is no registration of any SC or ST members there.  An Anganwadi teacher said that, “No Such SC or ST comes here, only the Muslims, Lingayats  and Brahmans come here.”

Ishrat Bano differs saying there are certain SC helpers at the Anganwadi who face serious problems. The Lingayats do not want to eat food items prepared by them. There is also a separate anganwadi for Lingayats in the village.

In the Lingayat anganwadi, the head teacher said that it was reserved for the Lingayats and no other communities are allowed.

Some women in the maternity ward of the Taluk government hospital say that they had never heard of the Mathru Purna scheme.  Another women, who gave birth recently, said that though they had heard about this scheme, they didn’t get any benefit from the anganwadis and the taluk panchayat.  A woman from the Arabbagata village said that she was not aware of the Mathru Purna scheme.

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