India

Nutrition provided to Anganwadi centers across state not up to mark

Golden yug
[ April 10, 2018 ] Anganwadi Centers deficient, Director "lethargic" in implementation of scheme Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is primarily concerned with the implementation of schemes related to children in the age group of 0-6 years, adolescent girls out of school in the age group 11-14 years as well as pregnant and lactating women. Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is an Indian government welfare programme which provides food, preschool education, preschool education kits and primary healthcare to children below six years of age and their mothers. The said programme is one of the world"s largest and most unique outreach Programmes for children. It is widely acknowledged that the young child is most vulnerable to malnutrition, morbidity, resultant disability and mortality. The early years are the most crucial period in life, as it is the time when the foundations for cognitive, social, emotional, language, physical development and life-long learning are laid. All these services are provided at Anganwari centre/. On record, govt of J&K is maintaining that it has 141 sanctioned ICDS Projects and have 31938 Anganwari centres located in all parts of state. State Mission Director, ICDS claims 516110 beneficiaries under category 6 months to 6 years have been registered in different Anganwari centres. ICDS is maintaining on record that state of J&K has 36012 severely malnourished children taken care by them. Number of beneficiaries under category P& L Mothers stands at 133140 and record of ICDS states that as on Dec 2017 a total number of 685262 beneficiaries belonging to different categories were registered with them. Worth mentioning here ICDS in the year 2016-17 received budget of Rs 15270.016 lacs from central govt and out of this amount Rs 14684.879 lacs was utilized and during the same period Rs 585.137 lacs remained unutilized with Mission Director. It deserves mentioning here that out of said amount Rs 5624.722 was drawn by ICDS officials in salary. The lesser fortunate Anganwari workers and helpers who happens to be the backbone for successful implementation of the project were actually paid meagre amount of Rs 3000 and Rs 1000 respectively in the shape of honourium which in turn speaks interest and intention of concerned authorities for achieving the set targets under the scheme. Anganwari workers working in over thirty one thousands Anganwari centres with one helpers have drawn Rs 6501.48 and 2009.43 lacs respectively. There is a general feeling that despite of huge allocations made by Government of India through Central Schemes/Centrally Sponsored Schemes in Jammu & Kashmir, the ICDS functioning remained a bone of contention and hampered development in basic infrastructure and amenities/facilities which are reflected in the record of Mission Director on ground are nowhere and especially in rural areas of the State. Further, the standard of Anganwaris is still very poor and most of them have failed to live up to the expectations of those thoroughly studying causes of its failure. Mrs Neeraj Paul associated with an NGO on the issue said feeling betrayed and cursing those who during the campaign of general election 2014 made tall promises of ending discrimination with Jammu and particularly the much debated and highly publicized issue of corruption and nepotism. But neither PM Modi nor his lesser known leaders representing Jammu have dared and cared to address issues which brought them to power with a promise that this time all long pending issues of Jammuites will finally be resolved, and whosoever indulging in corruption will be dealt sternly but all remained mere rhetoric’s. Non state subject holder Krishna a labourer by occupation whose three children are enrolled in a Anganwari informed Mam’s are taking care of their children and teaching them well but added children are provided diet in less quantity which hardly fill to their appetite. A well qualified lady engaged with an Anganwari when asked to spell out cause of scarcity of diet in Anganwaris with tight lipped informed they are supplied almost 40% less of the diet required by their bosses. She further added that sometimes they are forced to utilize substandard and expiry date food items and it always brings them bad name on pretext to another. They are even accused that they carry food items at their homes meant for diet to children at Anganwari centres whereas the lesser known fact is they never get required supply to meet the quantity and quality of diet to children. Mission Director, ICDS functioning is under lens as he himself is purchasing items meant to be distributed among beneficiaries. An officer of ICDS wishing anonymity on the issue said that during annual purchase, their Boss is asking 40% commission due to which requisite quantity of items are not purchased but only reflected in the bills. Moreover Director ICDS to keep his personal interests intact is not following supplementary nutrition food ingredients and quantity prescribed by PG department f Home Science University of Jammu. As per records of ICDS during 2017-18 J&K State Mission central funds were enhanced over 30% and an amount of Rs 21690.047 lacs besides state contribution of Rs 3980.81 was released. Govt of India vide order No. CD-1-11/2/2016-CD-1 Dated Oct, 6, 2017 and SAG/2/2017 same dated approved revised cost norms for supplementary nutrition under ICDS and SABLA. Under category 6 to 72 months, beneficiaries were provided diet costing Rs 6 a day was revised to Rs 8 and pregnant women lactating mothers (PW&LM) were earlier given diet on papers at the rate of Rs 7 and it was enhanced to Rs 9.15,severely malnourished 6to 72 months children who were being provided diet worth Rs 9 was approved for Rs 10 and adolescent girls out of school in the age group of 11to 14 years who are earlier given a diet of Rs 5 a day was enhanced to Rs 9.50. Reliable sources revealed Mission Director ICDS is misusing the funds meant for poorest of poor and on papers said Director claims he purchased 10,576 quintals Suji,16678 quintals of sugar, Soya refined and mustard oil 15 Kg tins numbering 28170 and 66334 respectively were purchased besides 1968 quintals haldi and Glucose biscuits 60 grams packets numbering 36461146. Sources further revealed that all purchases were made by Mission Director at inflated rates and desired quantity and quality materials were only maintained on papers. The wrongdoings committed by Mission Director are no more a secret and to hush up the matter, it is learnt that state Govt has decided to decentralise annual purchases to maintain transparency at one hand and at the same time to snub Mission Director for the time being pending compilation of evidences against him. Xxxxx