Dysfunctional Anganwadi Centre in Odisha

In their tourism website of Odisha, the state in Eastern India declares herself as India’s best kept secret. Hope they do not keep the irregularities of their free food and nutrition schemes a secret and devoid the children and women of their free nutritious meals. 

In Odisha, the Women and Child Development Department was created as a separate department during 1994-95, now they have almost 71,000 centres across the state. The idea of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is to work on the holistic development of children and women through a host of specially designed schemes and programmes. Along with Children and Women, the other core area of this scheme is to nurture Senior Citizens and Specially Abled Persons. 

Almost every year, The Government of Odisha launches several developmental schemes to strengthen the Decentralised Feeding Program of ICDS, their focus is entirely on empowerment of children, women, and persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

As a decentralised system, in every district, the ICDS project is headed by a Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), the project is further divided into 5-6 Sectors. Each sector is headed by a Supervisor, who oversees the work of 20-25 Anganwadi Centres (AWC) functioning at the village level.

Our Community Correspondent (CC) Satya Banchhor found that in the village of Badipalli in Balangir district, Odisha, the Anganwadi centres are not functioning and services are not available. In that village, the pregnant women are neglected due to a lack of food from Anganwadi. 

That Anganwadi centre provides Chhatua (wheat mixture), eggs and cooking oil, way irregularly there. The villagers are complaining that the pregnant women, lactating mothers and infants get these free supplies only once a month. And if the Anganwadi worker comes twice in a month, she takes signatures of all the women, to show that she has worked in Government Monitoring reports. 

Government of Odisha has taken an in-principle decision to give Ready to Eat [RTE] i.e. wheat-based ‘Chhatua’ in the form of Take Home Ration (THR) to all eligible beneficiaries. They have fixed the per beneficiary cost, calorie and protein norm to be maintained across the states. 

Despite the good intentions of the Government, the last mile deliveries are faulty, as our CC Satya Banchhor found out from the Badipalli villagers. When Satya talked to the Block Development Officer about this issue, he mentioned that there is no complaint against that particular worker from the CDPO yet, and whenever he receives complaints, he will look into this matter. Additionally, he said that because of Covid, they have not started full operations of those centres and keeps them open only for immunisation and ration distribution days, as per Government mandate. 

Please share this video to show the lapses in the system, we hope that concerned authorities will resolve this issue soon.

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