A National Conference of State Principal Secretaries/Secretaries in charge of Women & Child Development was held in New Delhi. The meeting was called by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to review Integrated Child Development Scheme as well as other schemes including those related to women, child care and child protection. Representatives of Women & Child Development departments of 29 States/UTs attended the meeting.
Addressing the participants, the Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that the Ministry is undertaking a complete revamp of the ICDS Program as the level of malnutrition in the country continues to be high. The Ministry is working in a convergence mode with NITI Ayog, Ministries of Health and Education and other stakeholders to deal with the problem of malnutrition on a war footing, the Minister added. Smt Maneka Gandhi said that the digitization of anganwadis is being taken up and both hardware well as is software is being provided for real time monitoring of every child and every pregnant and lactating mother. The anganwadi workers will be given smartphones and the supervisors will be given tablets for which the State government should provide training to anganwadi workers to help shift to the new IT-based system.
Smt Maneka Gandhi said that the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has given utmost priority of Beti Bacho Beti Padhao and Nutrition programme which are to be implemented in mission mode. The Beti Bacho Beti Padhao scheme has shown tremendous success due to active involvement of states, the Minister said, and urged the states to exhibit the same for ICDS.
The WCD Minister issued strict instructions to the states to comply with the directives of the WCD Ministry pertaining to clean food, prepared untouched by hand with sufficient availability of micro nutrients. “We are also looking at further standardizing the supplementary nutrition so that hygienic, nutritious and locally acceptable food is given to the children and mothers through a standardized process of manufacturing and distribution. This is warranted as the current systems of adhoc procurement and preparation have not succeeded in reducing malnutrition” the Minister explained. Smt Gandhi said that the WCD Ministry is making efforts to get the cost norms increased from the current levels so that better food can be provided to the beneficiaries.
Secretary WCD, Ms Leena Nair urged the states to ensure proper utilization of funds for various schemes specially those provided for nutrition and ICDS. Highlighting the role of technical interventions, she said that they can help the states in speedy and effective implementation of schemes of women and child development.