Neeraj Singh Manhas
Ph.D. Research Scholar
Department of Political Science
Sardar Patel University, Gujarat
This paper will be useful to policymakers, planners, training institutions, state government officials, and field functionaries who are committed to improving nutrition and health outcomes for women and children in our country. The Anganwadi Services Scheme (renamed ICDS) was piloted in 33 Community Development Blocks across our country to improve children’s nutrition and health; reduce morbidity, mortality, malnutrition, and school dropout among children and women; achieve effective coordination with allied departments for nutrition outcomes; and improve mothers’ and caregivers’ understanding of nutrition. It is an effort to report state government best practices/initiatives for wider dissemination among Anganwadi service providers under the ICDS umbrella so that they can learn, develop, and adapt replication techniques in their respective contexts. It would also enable them to carry out activities based on feedback, reflection, and analysis, resulting in more effective long-term nutrition programmes.
Keywords: Umbrella, ICDS, Anganwadi, Government, Services
As the Anganwadi Services Scheme has evolved over time, there have been numerous examples of innovative and effective models established by state governments that have produced positive results and have the potential to be scaled up. Other states could pilot or scale up additional ideas, such as graded best practices/potential good practises. The ICDS would enable state/UT governments to launch novel initiatives that have been shown to improve the availability, accessibility, and quality Replicable and sustainable (capability to self-support), they contribute to the initiative’s efficiency (optimal use of resources to improve outputs and outcomes), and they increase effectiveness (that is, its contribution to the achievement of the set objectives of the scheme in which the practise occurs).
Best practises are successful public policies that should be expanded to benefit a larger number of people. Expansion and institutionalisation of tried-and-true best practises necessitate strategy. In the Anganwadi Services sector, individuals, organisations, corporations, and development partners are taking innovative steps to improve nutrition and health outcomes. Spreading awareness of such procedures may aid in avoiding costly errors and wasting time. That is why documenting and sharing “best practises” is critical: it saves policymakers, officials, individuals, and organisations working in the Anganwadi Services sector time and money. To achieve large-scale, ongoing, and more successful interventions, knowledge of lessons learned, feedback, reflection, and analysis are required. To identify best practises, first analyse them according to the following criteria: effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, sustainability, and replication. To be useful in development, a best practise does not have to meet all of the above criteria. A best practise is a methodology or procedure that has been demonstrated to work consistently through experience and research. These methods must be shared and adopted by a larger number of people.
Under the umbrella of Integrated Child Development Services, the vision is to ensure the holistic physical, psychosocial, cognitive and emotional development of children under the age of six in child-friendly and gender-sensitive family, community, programme and policy environments with a particular focus on children under the age of three.
The scheme’s objectives are:
- It is important to recognise that growth and development deficits are cumulative and irreversible.
- Targeting young children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers to improve child survival, nutrition, development, and learning.
- Children’s full development potential and active learning capacity are enabled when early childhood development is holistically addressed.
- Extending the Centre’s reach to families and communities, recognising the need for service providers and volunteers to reach the most vulnerable age groups and communities.
- Encouraging local innovation and capacity building through decentralisation, flexibility, and community-based child care approaches.
- The most vulnerable and disadvantaged community groups (scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, minorities, etc.) must be reached.
- Strengthening convergence to address the interrelated needs of young children, girls, and women.
- A rights-based approach with women’s empowerment as a social quality mover.
- The ICDS Universalisation with Quality: Moving from Outlays to Child Related Outcomes.
- Securing good governance, accountability and community involvement.
The Anganwadi Services package includes the following six services:
- Supplementary Nutrition (SNP),
- Pre-school Non-formal Education,
- Nutrition & Health Education,
- Health Check-up, and
- Referral Services
The ICDS and Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are becoming more closely aligned
MGNREGS and ICDS have been working together to build Anganwadi Centres in 2,534 backward blocks since 2015. 50, 000 AWCs are issued each year, with a total of 2 lakh AWCs issued by 2019. The objectives are to construct Pucca buildings for Anganwadis in 2,534 blocks, to serve the objectives of pre-school education, nutrition centres, semi-formal public health units, as well as community centres, to create long-term assets and improve village infrastructure, and also provide a creche facility for MGNREGS workers.
POSHAN Abhiyan (Prime Minister’s Comprehensive Nutrition Plan)
The first 1000 days of a child’s life are critical, including nine months of pregnancy, six months of exclusive breastfeeding, and six months to two years of treatment for malnutrition. In addition to increasing birth weight, timely intervention can help reduce infant and maternal mortality (MMR). An additional year of consistent intervention (until the child is three years old) would ensure that the gains of the first 1000 days are maintained. The Aanganwadi Centers should also prioritise the development of children aged three to six years (AWCs). The Mission’s goal is to reduce undernutrition and other related issues by coordinating a variety of nutrition-related programmes.
The Mission is to ensure that all MWCD nutrition programmes are directed at the same population. The NNM will ensure the convergence of various programmes such as Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, the MWCD Scheme for Adolescent Girls, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), the MoH&FW National Health Mission (NHM), the DW&S Swachh Bharat Mission, the CAF&PD Public Distribution System (PDS), and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
National Nutrition Mission
It was implemented in 315 common districts identified in descending order of stunting prevalence from among 201 districts identified by NITI Aayog based on National Family Health Survey -4 data, 162 ISSNIP districts, and 106 Scheme for Adolescent Girls districts in 2017-18. 235 districts were established in fiscal year 2018-19 based on the status of undernutrition in various states/UTs based on the prevalence of stunting. In 2019-2020, the remaining districts will be covered. This program’s objectives are to –
- Prevent and reduce stunting in children (0- 6years) at a rate of 2% per year;
- Prevent and reduce under-nutrition (underweight prevalence) in children (0- 6years) at a rate of 2% per year;
- Reduce low birth weight (LBW) at a rate of 2% per year;
- Reduce the prevalence of Anaemia amongst young children (06-59months) at a rate of 3% per year; and
- Reduce the prevalence of Anaemia
Pictorial Handbook for Quality ECCE
The National ECCE Policy has been released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of the Government of India. The Ministry has created a Quality Standards Framework for ECCE in order to improve infrastructure and service standards, care quality, stimulation, and learning. The framework identifies key principles, indicators, and best practises for ensuring the quality of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) services. Pictorial Handbook on Quality in Early Childhood Education- expands on the Policy’s vision of quality. It depicts various aspects of quality through images, provides glimpses of good practises in various dimensions of quality, and attempts to create a shared understanding of quality among people at all levels, from national-level functionaries to Anganwadi Workers/ECCE teachers/caregivers. It is a practitioner tool for use in ECCE centres by ECCE teachers/caregivers.
Given our country’s diversity in terms of geographical locations, demography, as well as the nature of ECCE programmes and services, this was not possible to cover the entire spectrum in this handbook. It is an attempt to represent some acceptable practises demonstrating various aspects of quality. This Pictorial Handbook on Quality in Early Childhood Education will assist ECCE teachers/caregivers, one‘s supervisors, Program Managers, mentors, and trainers in achieving a high level of quality in early childhood programmes across the country.
Collaboration as well as convergence with various departments but also development partners have the potential to improve health services for malnourished women and children. Decentralizing the planning and management of the Anganwadi Services Scheme under the Umbrella ICDS allows States/UT Governments to break away from routine activities and explore potential for new innovations based on local demands. When combined with scientific demands, the innovations would undoubtedly pave the way for replication to be scaled up in other states. Secondary source knowledge on innovation and best practises in Anganwadi Services is abundant, and it has had a significant impact on malnutrition reduction and child care promotion in many states. Some of the innovations may well have a long-term impact if they are implemented in a systematic manner. State/UT governments will be encouraged to conduct need assessments of vulnerable populations and to evaluate innovations/best practises that will produce evidence-based analysis is to improve child development outcomes.
Endnotes and References
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