Economy

Higher allocation sought for child development scheme

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017 Published on January 15, 2012

After the Hunger and Malnutrition Report's recent release and the Prime Minister declaring “malnutrition as a national shame,” the Women and Child Development Ministry and anganwadi organisations have sought more resources in the ensuing budget for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

The HUNGaMA report found 42 per cent of children under five as “severely or moderately malnourished” and 59 per cent suffering from “moderate to severe stunting.”

The authors of the report dedicated their effort, among others, to the “mothers in this country and the huge army of social workers, anganwadi workers.” But, despite the Prime Minister's dismay, those working with angwanwadis say the government needs to “put the money where the mouth is.”

Severe deficiencies

For, the report pointed out that even as 96 per cent of the focus villages had anganwadi centres, only 61.4 per cent had pucca buildings, 55 per cent had toilets and only 28.6 per cent had functioning handpumps, wells or taps.

“Despite claims made by the government of universalising ICDS as per the Supreme Court order, till now only 1,288,463 anganwadi centres have been operationalised out of the 14 lakhs centres estimated to be necessary. And even out of these, as many as 73,375 posts of anganwadi workers have not been filled up. Besides, as many as 16,251 posts of ICDS supervisors, i.e. around one-third are vacant,' said Ms Hemalata of the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers. She said that in Bihar, 75,425 out of the 80,211 anganwadi centres did not have a building.

According to the HUNGaMA report, only 41.7 per cent anganwadi workers said their payments were up to date, while over 20 per cent said that they had last been paid three months or longer ago.

These women, who are among the “soldiers” fighting the scourge of malnutrition and disease, are paid a maximum of only Rs 1,800 a month. Their helpers are paid even less. Most of them are themselves surviving ‘below poverty line', say activists, who are seeking a higher allocation for ICDS in this year's Budget.

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Published on January 15, 2012
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