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Samerth study points towards poor state of Integrated Child Development Scheme in Gujarat's minority area

Counterview Desk
A study by Samerth, a non-government organisation working among the backward sections of Muslim population in Ahmedabad, has found that there is not just a tremendous shortage of anganvadis among the minority pockets, especially in the Juhapura area, but also whatever anganvadis operate they are extremely poorly equipped to take care of small children. Part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) launched by the Government of India, the areas where the study was carried out had a very high percentage of children, forming about 39.5 per cent of the population.
Even then, the study said, little was being done in the direction of child care. None of the anganvadis maintain the norm of 25 children in students in the age group three to six, with the result that for a population of 2,440 children there should be 100 anganbadis. “At present there are 36 operating”, it says, adding, “Thus, there is a requirement of 64 new anganvadis in the area of study. Close to 1,000 children are completely out of the ICDS programme and this is an alarming number. This also implies that for 60,000-odd population we need 100 anganvadis and therefore for every set of a 600 people population we require one anganvadi."
The survey suggests that eight per cent of the anganvadis do not open regularly, while the average number of children in the anganvadis comes to 40 on an average. On an average 60 per cent of registered children attend regularly, and only 10 per cent of anganbavis have an attendance above 90 per cent. Then, while only 18 per cent provide the healthy meal, 71 per cent falter both with regard to quality and quantity. Also, 18 per cent of the anganvadis do not provide food to pregnant women and lactating mothers, and 37 per cent do not provide healthy meals to adolescent girls.
The study further found that there were no anganvadi which provided toys to children to play with, eight per cent of them do not have the provision of clean drinking water, a whopping 21 per cent do not have the provision of a toilet, 20 per cent have no kitchen equipment, while another 26 per cent access the facility at a private house to cook food.
Samerth carried out the study in order to take a view of the area for getting an idea of the quantity and quality of services available in the areas. The families surveyed were mainly “socially and economically backward communities with professions such as vegetable -- fruit cart, rickshaw driver, painter, snack cart, masonry work, paddle rickshaw puller, garage, car driver, tailor, factory worker, truck driver, household worker, bus conductor, butcher shop, welding work, plumber, job in a supermarket etc”, it said. Also, majority of the population was Muslim and many of them were ravaged by the riots of 2002.
The study observed, “In terms of infrastructure the area has no government water supply or roads. All provisions have been privately constructed. Shady land deals are the norm here and land prices are very high as the mafias make the most of the illiterate and unaware populace. In terms of anganvadis the area does not have adequate number of them, and same is the case in government schools as well. The existing schools have poor facilities when it comes to furniture and teaching aids. Some even have much fewer classrooms than needed.”
The study added, “Anganvadi workers and school teachers were found to be untrained and the communities had little information about the right to education (RTE) Act, one reason why they could not assert the formulation their demands for new anganvadi centres from the government. A lot of peace initiatives needed to be taken as religious fundamentalism has strong roots in the work area. At the same time awareness about female education needs to be continuously spread as the larger proportion of illiterates and dropouts are girls.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
This if not fare! The government should ensure that the development programmes should reach to all the sections of our society including the marginalized.

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