CCI approves project to tackle malnutrition among children

Published November 12, 2020
The Council of Common Interests has approved a project worth Rs350 billion aimed at addressing malnutrition and stunted growth among children. — Reuters/File
The Council of Common Interests has approved a project worth Rs350 billion aimed at addressing malnutrition and stunted growth among children. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Wednesday approved a project worth Rs350 billion aimed at addressing malnutrition and stunted growth among children.

In its 43rd meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the CCI took serious note of malnutrition and stunted growth among children and decided to launch a programme that would target this core problem.

The meeting was also attended by federal ministers, chief ministers as well as chief secretaries of the four provinces.

According to the Prime Minister Office, the CCI unanimously agreed to initiate a project ‘Tackling Malnutrition Induced Stunting in Pakistan’ which would run for five years (2020-25).

It was also agreed that 50pc of the amount would be provided by the federal government while the remaining cost would be borne by provincial governments for five years.

The project will target 30pc of the country’s population with 15 million women of the reproductive age group and 3.9 million children under the age of two.

The meeting decided that the federal government would provide for nutrition supplementary commodities, capacity building of new and existing healthcare workers, research and monitoring while the provinces would contribute towards implementation through lady health workers and community health workers. It would also identify the target population and handle programme management, institutional arrangement, evaluation and data sharing.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had vowed to address malnutrition and stunted growth in its 2018 election manifesto with Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighting them in his speeches before and after coming to power.

Keeping in view the importance of developing a consensus on energy issues, the council decided to hold its next meeting in January next year so that a unanimous decision could be made by all stakeholders on issues related to cost of electricity, gas and fuel as well as water.

Prime Minister Khan said energy issues had a national impact and it was necessary that a consensus was developed among the provinces where a win-win result was achieved for the benefit of the people.

The CCI considered the request of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for one-time permission to swap/substitute arrangement of one petroleum exploration block with another prospective block within the province.

The council accorded one-time approval with a condition that commitments accruing out of previous award of block should be completed and the Petroleum Division incorporate a time limit for such a swap so that future requests were catered for.

The council also reviewed implementation status of the previous decisions.

Meanwhile, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, in a statement, said privatisation of all entities that had been created and function under a federal statute, was “unconstitutional” as the approval for the said privatisation had not been taken from the CCI.

He said Article 154 of the 1973 Constitution provided that the CCI shall formulate and regulate policies in relation to matters in part-II of the Federal Legislative List and shall exercise supervision and control over related institutions.

The senator said privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and Roosevelt Hotel along with other institutions was unconstitutional as the federal cabinet could not substitute the CCI as mandated in the Constitution for according approval(s).

“The federal government can, after approval of the CCI, privatise only the PSM and not the 19,000 acres of land that is a part and parcel of the PSM,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2020

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