- The article discusses issues with Anganwadi centres (AWCs), the focal point of POSHAN Abhiyaan
About POSHAN Abhiyaan
- POSHAN Abhiyaan or the National Nutrition Mission aims to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
- The objective of POSHAN Abhiyaan to reduce stunting in identified Districts of India with the highest malnutrition burden by improving utilization of key Anganwadi Services and improving the quality of Anganwadi Services delivery.
- It seeks to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
Issues with Anganwadi Centres (AWCs)
- Infrastructure: Many of the AWCs lack basic amenities and face infrastructure problems. Many AWCs lack their own building and operate from small rented premises. Further, large number of AWCS face problems with drinking water facilities, electricity connections and toilets.
- Universalization of coverage and advanced service delivery
- According to the Rapid Survey on Children (2013-14) carried out by the Union ministry of women and child development, 74% of AWCs had functional baby-weighing scales and 23% of them had adult-weighing scales.
- A 2015 evaluation carried out by NITI Aayog had found that over 24% of the AWCs surveyed maintained poor records.
- The information and communications technology-enabled real time monitoring (ICT-RTM) has been ineffective due to the limited capacities of Anganwadi workers to handle smartphones owing to their lack of technological literacy.
- Financial Issues: According to report titled Progress of Children Under Six Report, 2016, nearly 40% of AWWs had to use their personal money to run the AWCs and 35% of them complained of delayed payments.
- AWWs overburdened: Administrative duties like organizing functions, and conducting exams and surveys distract AWWs from their core health and nutrition responsibilities and overburden them
Measures to be taken:
- Involving panchayat leaders in construction of AWCs and improvement in the quality of village health sanitation and nutrition
- Vesting more powers in the district administration to fill vacant posts in AWCs to address the manpower crisis in AWCs
- Comprehensive periodical and refresher training of AWWs
- Ensure regular supply of iron/folic acid tablets, allotment of ‘take-home rations’ and supplementary nutrition