Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

  1. Social Welfare Department is concerned with Section 4 of NFSA i.e every pregnant woman and lactating mother is entitled to a free meal during pregnancy and six months after childbirth. She is to be given Take Home Rations of 600 calories and 18-20 gram of protein. The financial norms is Rs.7 per mother. 95% of pregnant mothers and 95.57% nursing mothers are registered with the Anganwadi Centres. Section 4(b) of NFSA also entitles the pregnant/lactating mothers to maternity benefits of Rs.6000 in instalments. However, this is being paid in only two districts implementing the IMGSY i.e North Garo Hills and East Garo Hills. So far 3136 pregnant women received payment. In the other Districts this is not being given due to paucity of fund with the State Govt.
  2. Section 5 relates to children in the age group 6 months to 6 years, who are entitled to a free meal of 500 calories and 12-15 gm of protein. For children in the age group 6  months to 3 years Take Home Rations are to be provided, and for those in the age group 3 years to 6 years, a morning snack and hot cooked meal is to be provided. This is being given in all the AWCS. Instead of morning snack, milk is given to the children. Out of a total number of 5, 68,536 children in the age group of 0-6 years, the number of children covered under Integrated Child Development Scheme  (ICDS) is 5, 32, 398. The total number of Anganwadi Centres (AWC) functioning in the State are 5890 under 41 ICDS Projects. Some AWC’s could not be set up due to population being less than the prescribed numbers, and therefore some children have been left out of the programme.
  3. Under Section 5(2), every school and Anganwadi Centre shall have facilities for cooking meals, drinking water and sanitation. Out of 5890 AWC’s, only 1799 have potable water supply and 1537 have toilet facilities. A water filter is provided to each AWC. The Department is dependant on Public Health Engineering (PHE) to provide these facilities. The AWC’s also do not have barrier free access and arrangement for children with disabilities. This is due to lack of adequate funds.
  4. Under Section 6, children who suffer from malnutrition in the age group 6 months to 6 years are to be provided Take Home Rations of 800 calories and 20-25 gm of protein. There are 260 Severely Malnourished Children as reported from the AWC’s. Double Rations are provided for SMC. Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres are operational in all Civil Hospitals of the State. A Village Health and Nutrition day is held in every AWC once a month in collaboration with Health Department to identify under nourished children.
  5. Section 8 of NFSA mandates that in case of non- supply of entitled quantities of foodgrains or meals, the beneficiaries would be entitled to food security allowance as may be prescribed by the Central Govt. However, the Department affirms that there are no disruptions in the supply of entitlements to mothers and children.
  6. Section 14 of NFSA requires the Department to put in place an internal grievance redressal mechanism like call centres, helplines, designation of nodal officers etc. The Department stated that in each AWC, there is a Village  Level Coordination Committee consisting of the village elders who look into complaints and inform the CDPO. The Department was advised to set up call centres having toll free numbers for registering complaints. The Department should also frame rules for displaying all documents relating to ICDS in the public domain and AWCS.
  7. The Department was advised to co-ordinate with Program Implementation Department to conduct Social Audit alongwith MGNREGS. As regards Third party evaluation, the National Institute for Cooperative and Child Development has been entrusted the work.
  8. The Supreme Court has banned the engagement of contractors in the supply of supplementary nutrition. This is being followed by the Department and only Manufacturers and Self Help Groups are engaged in the programme.
  9. The financial norms under the ICDS are Rs. 6 per child for malnourished children, Rs.9 per child for severely underweight children, and Rs. 7 for pregnant and Nursing mothers. This is not sufficient to provide adequate nutrition.
  10. Honorarium paid to Anganwadi Workers (AWW) is Rs. 3000 per month, and for Anganwadi Helpers ( AWH ) it is Rs. 1500 per month. This is not sufficient and enhancement of honorarium is under consideration.
  11. The Department is using the Mother and Child Protection Card (MCPC) to track maternal and child health. The  MCPC has helped in convergence of ICDS with Health Department.
  12. The meals that are cooked under SNP are sample tested for hygiene and nutrient value. Tests are being conducted by FICCI Research and Analysis Centre, New Delhi, Food Analyst to Govt of Assam, Guwahati, and FAIR Quality Institute, New Delhi.
  13. Under ICDS, the State Mission (SMSG) and District Missions are to be set up for review and monitoring of the programme. It appears that these State level and District level Missions have not yet been set up. The Department was advised to notify these Missions.
  14. Training of Child Development Project Officers (CDPO’s) and Lady Supervisors have been conducted in the form of Job Training and Refresher Training.
  15. The Department has confirmed that there are no interruptions in the supply of nutritional ingredients to the beneficiaries. The Department has initiated to frame guidelines on provision for food security allowance to ICDS beneficiaries in case they are not provided with SNP.
  16. There are some problems in the implementation of ICDS. For instance, the population of 2013 Census cannot be taken while projecting the population of children or households for 2016 – 17. In fact, for the previous years, the population approved for implementation of ICDS was less than the actual population covered. This has resulted in pending bills with the Manufacturers and SHGS.
  17. There is also the problem of delay in release of central funds for implementing the scheme. This results in non-release of honorarium to Anganwadi Workers and Helpers in time. The Department was advised to create a revolving fund/corpus so that payments can be released in time.

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