New Delhi : Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today said that in order to achieve the Anganwadi Services objectives, a package of six services comprising (i) Supplementary nutrition; (ii) Pre-school non-formal education; (iii) nutrition & health education; (iv) immunization; (v) health check-up; and (vi) referral services are provided to the targeted beneficiaries i.e. all children below 6 years, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers. Three of the six services namely Immunisation, Health Check-up and Referral Services are delivered through Public Health Infrastructure under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
All the children in the age group 6 months to 6 years, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers are eligible for services under Anganwadi Services. Anganwadi Services is a self selecting scheme and no targets are fixed for the beneficiaries of either Supplementary Nutrition or Pre-school non-formal education. As on 31.03.2021, there are 675.07 lakh children and 156.73 lakh Pregnant and Lactating Mothers receiving Supplementary Nutrition at Anganwadi Centres.
From time to time Government has taken many steps for improving the conditions of Anganwadi Centres across the country. These include provision of construction of Anganwadi Centres under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and provision of drinking water and sanitation facilities under Swacchta Action Plan (SAP).
There have been sustained engagements with State Governments for review and improvement including recent interactions to discuss different implementation related issues such as Anganwadi Infrastructure, non-operationalisation of Anganwadi Centres, filling of vacancies of Anganwadi Services functionaries and smooth delivery of services to the beneficiaries to strengthen services. Further, streamlined guidelines were issued on 13.01.2021, covering several aspects such as quality assurance, roles and responsibilities of duty holders, procedure for procurement, integrating AYUSH concepts, Data management and Monitoring through “Poshan Tracker”.
‘Poshan Tracker’, a robust ICT enabled digital platform, has been launched in March, 2021 to ensure real time monitoring of provisioning of supplementary nutrition by use of data analytics for prompt supervision and management of services. The system shall enable real-time monitoring and tracking of all AWCs, AWWs and beneficiaries on defined indicators.
Anganwadi Services (under Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services Scheme) was launched in 1975 with the objectives (i) to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; (ii) to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child; (iii) to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; (iv) to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and (v) to enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.