On February 5, 2020, According to the government’s response to a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that for every 100 anganwadi (or day-care centre) beneficiaries in India, only 7 belong to urban areas. This shows poor coverage by the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in urban areas implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).Present Scenario:
i.Status of urban areas: As per the RTI reply given by the government,as on September 30, 2019, out of the total 7.95 crore beneficiaries registered under the Anganwadi scheme in the country, only 55 lakh beneficiaries were registered in the urban Anganwadi centers.
ii.Acute shortage: There are about 13.79 lakh anganwadi centers across the country, of which 9.31 lakh are connected to the central government’s web-based data entry system called “Rapid Reporting System”.
Of those linked anganwadis, 1.09 lakh centres are in urban region and the balance 8.22 lakh are in rural areas of the country.
iii.Status of children across the country:
According to a recent All India Study on Nutrition Status ‘Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey-2016-18’, 35% of children under the age of five are stunting (low height for age) and 17 % Children were found to be affected by Wasting (low weight for height) problem .
It was also observed that 22% of the total children in the age group of 5 to 9 years in the country were found to be stunting and 23% underweight.
Comparison: Children in urban areas have two to three times more obesity problems than children in rural areas.
iv.Road Ahead: NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has prepared a draft working paper to strengthen the ICDS program in urban areas keeping in mind the migration, population density in cities and the long standing challenges before the workers and beneficiaries.
About Anganwadi centers:
These centers are set up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to provide a package of six services under the ICDS.
These 6 services are- supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, immunisation, nutrition and health education, as well as referral services.
Objective: The purpose of these Anganwadi centers is to reduce infant mortality and child malnutrition.
Beneficiaries: Anganwadi beneficiaries include children from 0-6 years of age, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
About Ministry of Women and Child Development(WCD):
Headquarters– New Delhi
Cabinet Minister– Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani