ANGANWARI: Many go defunct, yet Itoo contemplates more

* Number of Anganwari Centres in far-flung area of Doda are functioning on papers only while the reality is that many Anganwari Workers in far-flung areas of the district are married to other locations and shifted, many have shifted to cities, yet on papers they are working in these Anganwari Centres and are getting all the benefits. But the reality is otherwise. They visit these Anganwari Centres seldom. It will not be wrong to say that such Anganwari Centres have gone defunct.


The liberal funding from the Central Government to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir seems have made the state politicians, administration and the functionaries from top to bottom least accountable and those required to ensure proper functioning of several centres, act irresponsibly thus the result/outcome is lack of desired results. Such attitude of state government functionaries has led to huge losses to the state exchequer yet some the ministers are planning to go for more. Yes, the point in the case is to raise the issues pertaining to the present day functioning of Anganwari Centres in the state and the relevance of yesterday’s statement made by Minister for Social Welfare, Sakina Itoo. She mentioned that the government is contemplating to set up more Anganwari Centers under ICDS in the far off and uncovered areas of the state. Even she has issued instructions to the authorities concerned to conduct early survey of the left out villages in this regard.

The statement made by the minister is very good and every one should welcome it but has any minister so-far focused on making the available Anganwari Staff accountable to perform their duties. The answer is a big ‘NO’. Sources said that a number of Anganwari Centres in far-flung area of Doda are functioning on papers only while the reality is that many Anganwari Workers in far-flung areas of the district are married to other locations and shifted, many have shifted to cities, yet on papers they are working in these Anganwari Centres and are getting all the benefits. But the reality is otherwise. They visit these Anganwari Centres seldom. It will not be wrong to say that such Anganwari Centres have gone defunct.

This indicates that in many cases, administration in Jammu and Kashmir state functions on papers only instead on ground. And the result of such casual attitude of officials concerned is loss to the state exchequer.

Besides monetary loss to government, children are suffering badly as they are not getting pre-school education at these centres. As every one is aware, that the emphasis in Anganwari Centres is on the all-round development of children, in the age group 0-6 years by providing health, nutrition and early childhood stimulation.

Apart from preparing children for primary education, Anganwari Centres provide support services to working mothers with responsibilities of child care. One of the biggest programmes with an early childhood care and education component is the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme with centres, spread across the country. These are also Balwadis and Day-Care schemes managed by Department of Women and Child Development/Social Welfare and Voluntary Organizations, as well as pre-primary schools run by local bodies and some State Governments. It would be useful only if the Minister could have a look at the manner of implementation of the schemes at the field level, more particularly with a view to achieve synergies that could be expected by such convergence.

The aim of raising these points here is to invite minister’s attention towards the implementation of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and giving it more effective direction.

Minister may also consider setting up suitable coordinating mechanism at the State and District levels to bring about and sustain such coordinated functioning of these schemes.

No doubt the minister impressed upon the officers and field functionaries to work with missionary spirit and dedication to make the welfare schemes more beneficial to the deserving people but she is far away from the reality and does not know what happening in far flung area of Jammu region is.

Sources revealed that the ration that comes for particular Anganwari Centres is manuplated at many places in connivance with the Tehsil level officials.

Though she has said that this would go a long way in achieving the objectives of improving the lot of the weaker sections of the State but how if accountability is not made imperative.

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