Expressing concern at the irregularities in the implementation of ICDS Scheme, the Minister said that the situation is ‘extremely alarming’. She attributed the irregularities to the complete absence of a system of monitoring over the last 40 years of existence of ICDS.
Highlighting the problems of the ICDS and Anganwadis, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that there has been no training of Anganwadi workers/supervisors on nutrition related issued. The services of Anganwadi workers have been used for several purposes like electoral work and there are insufficient number Anganwadi centres in the country, she added. Smt Maneka Gandhi explained that out of 12.45 cr children (0-6 years) in the operational Anganwadi centres, 8.42 cr children are availing services under the ICDS. There is also no check on the quality and quantity of food distributed by anganwadi workers, a problem which her Ministry seeks to address, she explained.
Giving further details, the Minister said that the Anganwadi workers will be given tablets for real time monitoring of nutrition levels of food, and nutrition laboratories will be set up to test the quality of food being supplied under ICDS. Replying to another supplementary, the WCD Minister said that the community involvement in the system is very important for the success of the ICDS. The Scheme of Sneh Shivirs is being implemented in 200 districts in which a community approach is being followed by forming teams of mothers, Anganwadi and Asha workers etc. She also said that it has been observed that this approach has made a substantial difference to the nutrition levels of the children/pregnant mothers.
Replying to a supplementary regarding reduction in Budgetary Allocation to ICDS by 50 percent, the Minister said that she, along with the Health Minister will meet the Finance Minister soon to request for more funds. Meanwhile, she urged the State Governments to commit more funds to the Children’s Schemes since large amount of funds have now been transferred to the states under the new scheme of allocation.