|ICDS Conference concludes with demand for setting ICDS in a mission mode|
|A three day Conference of State Ministers in-charge of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) to review the issues under ICDS and malnutrition was held from 20th to 22nd of this month under the Chairpersonship of Minister of State Independent Charge (WCD) Smt. Krishna Tirath at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The purpose of the Conference was to deliberate upon the issues of universalization of the Scheme, improving delivery of Integrated Child Development Services, ICDS restructuring and strengthening and malnutrition in three separate groups.
The MOS (WCD), Smt. Krishna Tirath in her address said that the priority area was to ensure operationalisation of all the 13.67 lakh sanctioned Anganwadi Centres AWCs as there was still a backlog of around 1.02 to1.33 lakh AWCs. Coverage of all habitations including SC/ST and Minority Community areas be completed by the end of this year, Filling up of vacant posts, delivery and management of Supplementary Nutrition, focus on pre-school non-formal education, rolling out of WHO growth standards and Joint Mother- Child Protection (MCP) Cards and timely submission of financial statements, training of ICDS functionaries and welfare measures for AWWs were emphasised by the Minister.
The Government also shared Ministry’s perspective to strengthen and restructure the ICDS Scheme through a set of comprehensive programmatic, management and institutional reforms. During discussions there was a consensus and demand for setting ICDS in a mission mode.
Other issues of concern that were highlighted were prevention and management of malnutrition, effective convergence and linkages with Public Health System and other line Ministries, augmentation of infrastructure facilities such as Anganwadi buildings, adherence to supervision guidelines and setting up of five-tier monitoring system at all levels in the State.
The Minister Smt. Krishna Tirath also stressed that the high level of malnutrition prevalent in the country was a matter of serious concern. Early detection and prevention is critical. The States were asked to take specific steps for conducting independent surveys to detect levels of malnutrition and also devise nutrition protocol/guidelines at community and facility level for treatment of severally malnourished children. The states have been advised to setup Nutrition Council immediately and to take further steps for a concerted action to address the challenge of Malnutrition.
On the first day, the review was conducted with States of Assam, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Orissa, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Kerala and Rajasthan. On the second day states of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa and Uttar Pradesh presented their progress and issues faced by hem. On concluding day Jammu & Kashmir, H.P., Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Puducherry participated and expressed their opinion and difficulties on the ground. The States interacted on various issues and expressed their view points and difficulties in implementing the Scheme. Some of States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Andhra Pradesh also made presentations on good initiatives.
Some of the demands made by the states included funds for the construction of AWCs, revision of rent at par with market rates, provision of water supply and sanitation facilities at AWCs, and revision of cost norms of Supplementary Nutrition Programme SNP. Increase in Manpower for better management of the programmes, additional Worker to focus on children under three years of age, better mobility for supervision and monitoring at grass-root level were other issues raised by the states in the conference. States also emphasized strengthening of Pre-school norms and ECE Early Childhood Education components under the ICDS.
Secretary Ministry of Women and Child Development, Shri Devendra Kumar Sikri highlighted the fact that ICDS is the world’s biggest Early Child Development programme where States need to manage and invest heavily in the programme well. He while appreciating their difficulties pointed out that several of these could be addressed by innovative and administrative measures. Besides, he also assured the states that major changes in the Norms, manpower need etc. would be taken up at the time of restructuring and strengthening of the ICDS which is under discussion. He emphasized that the scheme focuses on holistic and integrated development of the child and for this components such as focus on under three children growth and nutrition; Early Childhood Development and Education through play-way non-formal Pre-school education, provision of PSE kits, Medical kits, flexi funds at AWCs level are essential and quality need to be ensured. For optimal financial management and timely fund release from the centre, the states have to ensure timely submission of component wise expenditure in Statement of Expenditure SOE along with Utilization Certificate. The States were called upon to provide additional funds from their budget for betterment of the scheme.
The meeting was chaired by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) (WCD) Smt. Krishna Tirath on each day in which various State Ministers, state Secretaries/ Directors participated. Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Shri Devendra Kumar Sikri and other senior officers of the Ministry attended the meeting that was innovatively organised in a businesslike manner. Interactive sessions with the States were held on each issue to elicit their specific inputs.
source: http://www.pib.nic.in / Ministry of Women and Child Development / Jul 23rd, 2011