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ICDS falters, quality delivery system Still a big concern for Bihar children: CRY

India Blooms News Service | 28 Jan 2015, 06:58 am
Patna, Jan 27 (IBNS) : Even though Bihar is emerging as one of the growing states in India, benefit of this development is yet to percolate to the marginalised children as it should have.

 A recent survey conducted in 20 districts of the north Indian state by Bihar Lok Adhikar Manch (BLAM) and CRY – Child Rights and You  has pinpointed the areas that are of serious concern as far as reach and quality government  services to the children is concerned.
The report indicates that there are glaring infra-structural and qualitative gaps in ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) service delivery system, and the state needs a strong push to address this in the earliest.

According to the major findings of the report, 19% of the ICDS centres in the Dalit areas in the State neither have any weighing machine, nor do they maintain growth monitoring charts (GMC) for children on a regular basis.

Though the ICDS centres are empowered to issue birth registration certificates to the newborns, only 24% of them are found to have been issuing the same regularly.

Moreover, it is found that 77% of the surveyed Anganwadi Centres (AWC) do not have proper utensils for serving purpose, and 24% don’t have any proper hand-washing facility. 28% of the AWC Centres are found not to have storage facilities at the centre, where food grains and raw materials are stored in Sevikas’ houses.
Other infra-structural gaps reflected in the survey report show that less than half of the ICDS centres (only 45%) are operating from own buildings built by the Government, while rest of the centres are operating from AWC Sevikas’ / Sahayikas’ houses.
To further the list, only 32% of the AWCs have proper toilets, while a meagre 56% are found to have clean drinking water facility, and the rest are found to be collecting water from nearby households.

40% of the surveyed AWCs don’t have earmarked kitchen shed, and cooking is done either in the room at the AWC or at the verandah.
More worrying findings show that 60% of the Anganwadi Workers (AWW) are by no means aware of the Nutrition Rehab Centres (NRCs) situated at the district headquarters. Only 20% of the surveyed AWCs are reported to have taken any initiative to refer children suffering from malnutrition to the nearby NRCs. This year only 41 severely acute malnourished (SAM) children have been referred to NRCs by these AWCs.

88% of the surveyed Anganwadi centers are found to have not received any fund for purchasing medicine kits, and in 86% of the Centres medicine kits are found unavailable.

The report has also drawn attention to the staggering number of children attended by a single ICDS centre. According to Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, a CRY spokesperson and operation-in-charge in Bihar, “It’s been observed that the higher is the average number of children attended by any single ICDS centre, the lower is the quality of services delivered. Statistics show that, in Bihar the average number of children attended by a single ICDS centre is 80 in average, a number much higher than the national average standing at 55.”

“The need of the hour, hence, is to increase the number and reach of ICDS service delivery Centres, and allocate appropriate budgetary provision to reach out to all children. Ensuring quality of services to meet the demands of health, nutrition and early childhood care and education for children is simply non-negotiable, and being the primary duty bearer, the State cannot abdicate its responsibility in this regard,” Bandyopadhyay added.
Rajeev Ranjan, State Coordinator BLAM, observed, “Community-owned ICDS centres and decentralised monitoring systems could be the only solution to improve the quality of the ICDS services. Not merely the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP), but also the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) should be of highest priority. According to him, “A pro-people political will and contextual policy implementation framework in the best interest of the child can go a long way to make it a better place for the marginalised children.”

Welcoming the initiative Ms Nisha Jha Chairperson SCPCR, said, “The findings show the on-ground scenario of the ICDS centres situated in the dalit-prone districts in the State.” She said that she would discuss this with the Social welfare Department officials and address the issues in the earliest.”

Anindya Banerjee Director PRAXIS said, “Being the primary duty bearer, the Government should  look into the report and ensure that quality service is delivered to the underprivileged children.”   

As per the available Government data, in Bihar there are 91,677 approved ICDS centres catering to 80 children each, and thus 7,334,160 children (in the age-group of 0-6 yrs.) are being provided with, whereas the total child population in the same age bracket is 1,91,33,964 (Census 2011). Thus, only 38% of the total children (in 0-6 yrs. Age group) are covered by ICDS services, while 62% children are still out of its reach.

ICDS falters, quality delivery system Still a big concern for Bihar children: CRY

India Blooms News Service
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