Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government faces a major challenge in adoption of Anganwadi Kendras (child care centres) to address the issues of malnutrition, improve Early Child Care and Education (ECCE) levels and upgradation of infrastructure facilities.
Out of nearly 1,89,014 operational Anganwadi Kendras in the state, about 10,000 centres have been adopted. These include 1315 centres adopted by the public representatives and over 8000 adopted by the officers in different districts.
Besides the MPs, MLAs and MLCs, the public representatives covered under the scheme for adoption include mayors and chairpersons of urban local bodies. The officers working in districts and divisions and educational and other institutions are also being involved to ensure more adoptions.
As the total number of child care centres adopted so far remains low, the state government has recently launched a fresh initiative to ensure more adoptions and develop these centres as model child care centres. The facilities to be provided include clean drinking water, toilets, power supply, smart-phone, growth monitoring device and chairs and tables for children etc.
The Anganwadi Kendras are important units for providing appropriate nutrition, health and immunization services to children of six months to six years, girls in 11-to-14-year age group and pregnant women. Those aware of the prevailing situation on the malnutrition front said about 22 per cent children were malnourished in the state. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) indicates that Uttar Pradesh has 35.7 per cent Neonatal mortality rate, 50.4 per cent infant mortality rate and 59.8 per cent under-5 mortality rate.
The state government had initially launched the scheme for adoption of the Anganwadi centres on January 10 this year. At a state level programme organised at Lok Bhawan here to mark Poshan Maah (Nutrition Month) on September 16, chief minister Yogi Adityanath also asked for adoption of Anganwadi Kendras by public representatives, district and divisional officers, educational institutes, industrial and other institutions to develop them as model child care centres. Governor Anandiben Patel too has been taking active interest in their development and has asked all state universities to adopt them.
Secretary, child development and nutrition department, Anamika Singh, in an order dated October 20, gave detailed guidelines for adoption of child care centres, follow-up action, monitoring and timeline for developing the anganwadi kendras as model centres. Singh said district programme officers would monitor progress of the Anganwadi Kendras every month and the adopted centres would be developed as model child care centres within six months of adoption. Singh said the district nutrition committee would declare a child care centre as model.
Director, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) Sarneet Kaur Broca, when contacted, said a major programme to reach out to the public representatives and officers working at various levels would soon be launched to ensure more adoptions. She said special programmes would be organized to involve public representatives in adoption of the centres. She said the convergence of schemes of various departments was a major challenge and her department was working on the same. She said her department was also working out a system for geo-tagging and uploading of pictures of all the facilities.