Friday, January 18, 2008


In Bihar, there are 60, 587 Anganwadi Centres under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) project. In Bhojpur and Buxar there are 1,658 and 1,139 Anganwadi Centres respectively.

In a 2006 study by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development commissioned by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, it is observed that the ICDS scheme has performed considerably well. Nearly 76.2 per cent of the pregnant mothers had received tetatnus toxoid immunisation and the records of all vaccinations were maintained properly by the anganwadi centres, says the study. The institute had conducted a similar study in 1992.

Following an agitation of Anganwadi workers and helpers for recognition as government staff.

In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on July 31, 2006 the Minister stated that the ICDS scheme envisaged anganwadi workers and helpers as honorary workers, who volunteered to render services on a part-time basis at the anganwadi centres; that they were grassroots functionaries in view of their honorary status; and that it would not be possible to treat them as government employees. In sum, the government believes that they are `social workers'.

The role of these workers is important in a state like Bihar 65 lakh (6.5 million) families have been declared BPL.

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) was launched initially in 33 blocks, on October 2, 1975, that is, 30 years ago. Today, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is on of the world's largest and most unique outreach programmes for early 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., when the foundations for cognitive, social, emotional, language, physical/motor development and life long learning are laid, recognizing that early childhood development constitutes the foundation of human development, ICDS is designed to promote holistic development of children under six years, through the strengthened capacity of caregivers and communities and improved access to basic services, at the community level.

The programme is specifically designed to reach effective disparity reduction. The programme provides an integrated approach for converging basic services for improved childcare, early stimulation and learning, health and nutrition, water and environmental sanitation targeting young children, expectant and nursing mothers and women's a/ adolescent girls' groups. They are reached through nearly 60,000 trained community-based Anganwadi Workers and an equal number of helpers, supportive community structures/women's groups- through the Anganwadi centre, the groups system and in the community.

ICDS is powerful outreach programme to help achieve major national nutrition and health goals. Embodied in the National Plan of Action for Children. It also contributed to the national goal of universal primary education. ICDS provides increased opportunities for promoting early development, associated with primary stage and by releasing girls from the burden of sibling care, to enable them to participate in primary education. Poised for universal coverage by the turn of the century, ICDS today reaches out to roughly on million expectant and nursing mothers and roughly 5 Million children (under six years of age), of disadvantaged groups in Bihar. Of these, 2.5 million children (three to six years of age) participate in centre-based pre-school education activities.

The network consists of 393 projects, covering nearly, 72 percent of the state community development blocks and the services are being provided through 60587 Anganwadi Centers are as follows:

· Improve the nutritional and health status of children below the age of six years.
· Lay the foundation for the proper psychological, physical and social development of the child.
· Reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropouts.
· Achieve effective coordination of policy and implementation among various departments to promote child development.
· Enhance the capability of the mother to took after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child, through proper health and nutrition education.


· Immunization
· Health check-ups
· Referral services
· Treatment of minor illnesses


· Supplementary feeding
· Growth monitoring and promotion
· Nutrition and Health Education (NHED) Early Childhood Care And Pre-School


· To children in the age groups of three to six years.


· Of other supportive services, such as safe drinking water, environmental sanitation, women's empowerment programmes, non-formal education and adult literacy.

In the three-decade-old Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), anganwadi workers and helpers play the key role in its implementation.

Anganwadi workers are involved in various government schemes such as pre-school and health education, maintenance of records of births and deaths, administration of pulse-polio drops, and provision of supplementary nutrition to pregnant and lactating mothers and children up to the age of six. Their services are used to achieve family planning targets. They constitute the backbone of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), completed 32 years. The ICDS is a major Central government programme administered by the Women and Child Development Departments in the States.
On November 28, 2001, the Supreme Court directed the Central and State governments to ensure that there was a functional anganwadi (child-care centre) in every settlement. In April 2004, the court reaffirmed that the ICDS should be universalised without delay to cover all habitations.

On September 22, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, in keeping with its to "universalise the ICDS scheme to provide a functional anganwadi in every settlement and ensure full coverage for all children", sanctioned 467 additional ICDS projects and 1,88,168 anganwadi centres.

Anganwadi centres are required to impart pre-school education, the prime objectives of which are to motivate children to attend school and to improve retention. According to All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers, there are six lakh anganwadis in the country as against an estimated 17 lakhs required for universal coverage.
Supplementary nutrition is provided to 3.4 crore children, as opposed to 16 crore children (half of whom are undernourished) in the zero to six age group.

In the Health and Family Welfare Department, the anganwadi worker's job is to create awareness about oral rehydration therapy, upper respiratory tract infections, and directly observed treatment system for tuberculosis and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and provide education on birth control methods.

The responsibilities of these workers vary from State to State. In some States, they are required to conduct surveys to identify below-poverty-line families and diseases such as leprosy and filariasis, and even help in cattle census. Under the ICDS, they are required to work for four hours a day but usually put in eight to nine hours given these extra responsibilities.

ICDS itself needs to be institutionalised and converted into a regular department and integrated with the Department of Women and Child Development. Lack of funds is often cited as a reason for the non-regularisation of anganwadi employees.

At present the centres cater to meeting the supplementary nutrition demands of infants.

The Child Development Project Officers [CDPO] demands commissions from these women to release the honorarium. Anganwadi workers have to make appeals at various levels repeatedly, from the sarpanch to the CDPO, to get their due. The Federation also received complaints from its members in several States.

Barring anganwadi workers, others employed under the ICDS either hold a regular job or are on contract.
They are not regular government employees and yet people see them as government representatives. Still it is the anganwadi workers that have to face the music, not the sarpanch or the CDPO.

Anganwadi workers suffer all forms of exploitation. They are expected to reach the block headquarters at any cost, whenever meetings are held. In the process, they are exposed to several risks. In several States, in the name of empowering the panchayats, the sarpanchs are authorised to sign the attendance certificates of anganwadi workers. Often these women would be told to come in the evening or in the night to collect the certificates.

An anganwadi worker gets an honorarium of Rs.1,000 a month and a helper Rs.500. The Federation has collected 10 million signatures from the beneficiaries of anganwadi services and submitted them to the Women and Child Development Department at the Centre.

Only the Left parties have supported the demand for the regularisation of anganwadi workers. After all, the demand is in the interest of child and maternal mortality. The NAC has stated that the best means of providing immediate protection to vulnerable children is to universalise and improve the ICDS. According to the National Family Health Survey 1998-99, nearly half of all Indian children are undernourished and the country has the highest level of child under-nutrition in the world, along with Bangladesh and Nepal.

The allocation for the ICDS is itself low. It is barely Rs.1,600 crores (as per the 2004-05 Budget) and the combined expenditure is less than one-tenth of 1 per cent of India's gross domestic product. The reach of the ICDS has to be tripled in order to provide essential health and nutrition services to 16 crore children.

Anganwadi workers have waited for 32 years for a policy to regularise their services. The entire ICDS infrastructure has to be strengthened, financially and administratively.


mediavigil said...

Most of world’s stunted children live in India, says Lancet

A recent The Lancet study shows that among the 20 countries where four-fifths of all undernourished children live, India is home to the largest number.

The reputed international journal says these 20 countries lack the political will to put nutrition on their list of priorities – and keep it there.

The study, however, commends the work being done in southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition – a global, scientific report by a team of public health scientists – underlines the importance of the "golden interval of intervention" that ranges from pregnancy to two years of age. After the age of two, under-nutrition would have caused irreversible damage to the child's development.

"India, with a large population, is also home to the most stunted children. There are 61 million stunted children in India, which is over half (51%) of all Indian children under the age of five years, and 34% of all stunted children worldwide," says the study.

Countless studies and reports generated within India have pointed to the alarming situation of hunger and starvation in the country. The recent National Family Health Survey (NHFS) showed that there has not been much improvement in the nutrition status of children within the last eight years.

While during NFHS-2 (1998-1999), 47% of children under three years of age were found to be underweight, this number decreased by only 1% with 46% of children under three years of age being underweight according to NFHS-III (2005-2006). This means every second child under six years of age is underweight, a statistic worse than that in sub-Saharan Africa.

Further, there has been almost no improvement in the percentage of underweight children in the eight years since NFHS-II.

Statewise scenario

In Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh the percentage of malnourished children is more than half; in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand this figure has actually gone up since NFHS-II.

Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, has done comparatively well in the last eight years, with a fall in the percentage of underweight children of nine percentage points. Other states where malnutrition among children under three has worsened are Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Haryana, Nagaland, Assam, Gujarat, Kerala, Sikkim and Goa.

Latest National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) data (2006-2007) shows that there is a deficit of over 500 calories in the intake of 1-3-year-old children and about 700 calories among 3-6 year-olds.

Too little, too flawed

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme is the only government programme in the country that caters to the nutritional requirements and other health, immunisation and early education needs of the most vulnerable groups of people namely children under six years, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls.

It operates through an anganwadi centre in every village, manned by an anganwadi worker.

The Seventh Report of the Supreme Court-appointed commissioners, which is the latest on the status of compliance of the Centre and states on orders passed by the apex court in the matter, over the past six years, underlines the need for the ICDS programme to reach out to all target populations for greater effectiveness in dealing with the problem of malnutrition.

But despite the Supreme Court playing a key role in monitoring and prodding the government, the status of the ICDS programme is far from encouraging.

According to the commissioners' report, only 35.5% of children under six receive supplementary nutrition under the ICDS. And only around 25% of eligible pregnant women and nursing mothers are being reached under the programme. The worst states are Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, where anganwadis barely exist.

With respect to the "golden interval of intervention" pointed out by The Lancet report, the ICDS programme is flawed. There is virtually no emphasis on children below the age of three. The programme focuses on the supplementary nutrition component, which mainly reaches 3-6 year-olds.

And the food tends to be erratic, of poor quality and unimaginatively prepared. Reports of the court-appointed commissioners point out that the 0-3 age-group should have access not just to foodgrain but specially prepared food made from nutritious locally grown cereals, fortified with essential micronutrients.

The Lancet series shows that there are proven effective interventions to reduce stunting and micronutrient deficiency. Among the most effective measures listed are breastfeeding, Vitamin A supplements and fortification.

For maternal nutrition, it is iron, folic acid and calcium supplements. The series says immunisation of pregnant women may have a greater impact than a school meal programme.

Apex court intervenes

The court passed an order in 2006 saying that every child, adolescent girl and pregnant woman should be covered under the ICDS programme in a phased manner, latest by December 2008.

It also asked the government to set up an anganwadi centre in every habitation; this translates to 14 lakh anganwadi centres.

Two years later, 4 lakh centres have still to be sanctioned. The ones sanctioned last year exist only on paper.

If every child under six in 14 lakh anganwadis has to be covered, the government will have to increase its budgetary allocation to the programme by 71%. The government is spending less than Re 1 on every child when it should be spending Rs 2.

Research has also shown that some of the most vulnerable groups within the anganwadi project area are socially excluded and were therefore not included in the anganwadi survey.

These include socially ostracised dalits, adivasis, minority and disabled children and certain economic groups. At an all-India level, only about half the children (56.6%) identified by the anganwadi survey are beneficiaries of supplementary nutrition. As expected, compared with the population of children under six, according to Census 2001, coverage is even poorer.

While there are around 16 crore children in the 0-6 age-group, according to Census 2001, the number of supplementary nutrition beneficiaries is only 5.8 crores, that is, only 35.5% of children under 6 years of age in the country receive supplementary nutrition under the ICDS.

This leaves out over 10 crore children (66%).

Further, in states such as Assam, Bihar, Kerala and Rajasthan the percentage of children getting the benefit of supplementary nutrition is less even than the 40% of eligible children identified in this age-group by the anganwadi survey.

Source: Infochange and The Indian Express

Women and child development (WCD) minister Renuka Choudhary says, ICDS would be also restructured and universalized very soon.

It would be implemented in mission mode status to ensure time bound and inclusive approach to reach to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable beneficiaries, particularly from the SC/ST/Minority communities she said.

PIB, 28 Jan, 2008

Heat over meal scheme

Renuka wants hot food for kids to go, Planning Commission refuses to budge

NEW DELHI: Women and child development (WCD) minister Renuka Choudhary is on a collision course with the prime minister’s office (PMO) and the Planning Commission on the issue of providing hot cooked meals to children under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

According to sources, Choudhary is trying hard to dump the practice of providing locally prepared hot cooked meals and replacing it with a scheme of centrally procured packaged food for distribution to children.

She has commissioned a survey to study how the existing scheme of providing local hot cooked meals was functioning.

The survey, being conducted by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), comes at a time when the WCD is holding a conference of ministers and secretaries of states on January 28-29 and the ICDS programme is set for restructuring.

Barring the WCD ministry, everyone — the Planning Commission, the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Council — has consistently and strongly held that locally-prepared hot cooked meals are best for meeting the nutritional requirements of children since they would be in accordance with local tastes and food habits.

“We are in favour of hot cooked meals for children,” said Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the prime minister’s handpicked man for the job.

“All children like burgers,” Choudhary has been quoted as having said some time ago, dismissing arguments about local tastes and food habits. She favours a scheme for providing supplementary nutrition by giving children packaged food, procured through centralised purchases.

The survey by NIPCCD, said sources, was aimed at bolstering her contention by establishing that hot cooked meals were a bad idea. While neither the WCD minister nor the NIPCCD director AK Gopal responded to DNA’s attempts to contact them, sources said the survey was being carried out rather secretively, without the knowledge of the state governments implementing the scheme.

But, a WCD official explained, “We can certainly get our own surveys done and there is no need to inform state governments.”

Others are not so sanguine about the whole thing.

NC Saxena, the commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court to monitor the government’s food and nutrition schemes, had earlier written to the prime minister about the corruption in centralised purchases for feeding programmes, rendering them ineffective. The sum involved now is a phenomenal Rs53,000 crore, a very tempting amount for many to seek a share in.

But there is no way the hot cooked meals scheme will be dropped in favour of packaged food, Planning Commission sources said. “We fought tooth and nail for it and we have a very firm position on it. There is no way it is going to be removed,” they said.

If the WCD ministry simply wanted to identify the problems and shortcomings in the hot cooked meals scheme and improve its implementation, there was no reason to object to the survey. But if the ministry wanted to use it to try and dump the programme, it would not be allowed, said the source.

28 Jan, 2008 DNA

Contractor raj eating into nutrition plan
27 Jan 2008,

NEW DELHI: Contractor raj is flourishing in the Rs 2,000 crore-plus supplementary nutrition programme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in contravention of Supreme Court orders against use of contractors.

The apex court-appointed commissioners in the right to food case, in their seventh report, have pointed out that despite the court's four-year-old order, at least nine states continue to use contractors in procurement, storage and distribution of foodgrains to children under ICDS.

The court in 2004 had ordered that: "Contractors shall not be used for supply of nutrition in anganwadis, and preferably, ICDS funds shall be spent by making use of village communities, self-help groups and Mahila Mandals for buying of grains and preparation of meals."

This was done to cut the rampant corruption that centralized procurement of food grains had led to. The scheme helps counter malnutrition for 7.36 crore children and pregnant and lactating women all over the country.

The court commissioners were able to gather data only for 22 states, out of which they found that Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Utarrakhand, Chandigarh and Daman & Diu continue to depend upon contractors to supply food to children under the flagship scheme.

The report of the court commissioners comes at a critical time when the ICDS scheme is up for a total revamp and a move is on to question the court instructions to remove the contractor raj from the food grain supply. The women and child development ministry had earlier submitted an affidavit in the court questioning the logic of decentralizing the procurement of food grain and banning contractors, wholesalers and packaged food manufacturers.

It has contended that the programme provides supplementary nutrition and not meals to the crores of children and expecting mothers.

The 11th five-year Plan too has left the room open for debate within the government with the Plan document not deciding between three options it has thrown up. The plan envisages that either hot cooked meals be provided through self-help groups, mothers' groups or village committees.

Or, it suggests the alternative route of relying upon micronutrient-fortified food (which entails centralized procurement and consequently use of contractors, wholesale dealers and manufacturers).

As a third option, it suggests that the decision between the two options be taken at a lower level of the decision making chain than the states or centre. The option of fortified food has been left open despite the government, in the plan document, contending that use of micronutrient-fortified food has not yet been established.


The Ministry of Women and Child Development has convened a 2-day conference of State Ministers in charge of Women and Child Development on 28-29 January, 2008 to review programmes and policies related with women and children.

The Government has decided to expand Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) to ensure 14 lakh Anganwadis in operation by the end of 2008. States have been asked to identify SC and ST hamlets for opening of new Anganwadis on priority basis and to put on all the data related with ICDS on their website which should include number of beneficiaries, fund utilized and related matters. Anganwadi workers and helpers now stands cover under insurance. The conference will review implementation of these steps.

PIB, 26 Jan, 2008


in Muzaffarpur District also in village RAJADIH in SONPUR Panchayat (ward no. 2 , centre no. 66 )in KATRA PRAKHAND previous Mukhia Prema Devi and Previous Panchayat Sachiv Rambabu Singh had appointed the candidate of backward caste while this post was reserved for Schedule Caste in 2008 by taking comission from the candidate . However the candidate of Schedule Caste was also applied for the past. HOWEVER A COPLAIM WAS ALSO LODGED AGAINST IN BEFORE DM MUZAFFARPUR . BUT NO ACTION WAS TAKEN TILL DATE. THE NAME OF SCHEDULE CASTE CANDIATE IS VIBHA KUMARI W/O JITENDRA PASWAN. THE NAME OF CANDIDATE APPOINTED WAS SAVITRI DEVI W/O MADAN KUMAR SHAH


in Muzaffarpur District also in village RAJADIH in SONPUR Panchayat (ward no. 2 , centre no. 66 )in KATRA PRAKHAND previous Mukhia Prema Devi and Previous Panchayat Sachiv Rambabu Singh had appointed the candidate of backward caste while this post was reserved for Schedule Caste in 2008 by taking comission from the candidate . However the candidate of Schedule Caste was also applied for the past. HOWEVER A COPLAIM WAS ALSO LODGED AGAINST IN BEFORE DM MUZAFFARPUR . BUT NO ACTION WAS TAKEN TILL DATE. THE NAME OF SCHEDULE CASTE CANDIATE IS VIBHA KUMARI W/O JITENDRA PASWAN. THE NAME OF CANDIDATE APPOINTED WAS SAVITRI DEVI W/O MADAN KUMAR SHAH