Tribune News Service
Jammu, November 14
Despite the release of financial grant by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is having its task cut out to ensure toilet facilities at anganwari centres. During a visit to more than 200 centres by a monitoring team of the Central ministry in J&K, it was revealed that only 56 (23.43 per cent) anganwari centres have usable toilet facility.
The Government of India had released an amount of Rs 37406.56 lakh to the UT of which Rs 338.09 lakh was to be utilised for toilets and drinking water facilities, Rs 34361.46 lakh for anganwari services (general), Rs 2128.50 lakh for supplementary nutrition programme, Rs 25.49 lakh for training, Rs 532.80 lakh for furniture/equipment and 20.22 lakh for maintenance of the centres.
Sources said the team had visited seven projects under the flagship Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme covering 239 anganwari centres. The team observed that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was among 16 states where less than 75 per cent anganwari centres had usable toilet facilities.
The sources said apart from J&K, other states with poor usable toilet facilities were Bihar (13.33 per cent), Jharkhand (17.78 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (21.90 per cent), Meghalaya (23.53 per cent), Assam (26.79 per cent), etc.
The administration of Jammu and Kashmir had been requested by the team to tap funds for construction of toilets in anganwari centres for the convenience of children studying there.
The sources said the ministry officials also expressed concern over the lack of availability of kitchens in anganwari centres. It came to the fore during their visit that of the total 239 visited anganwari centres, only 51 (21.34) per cent had separate kitchen (cooking space) facility.
A total of 12 other states/union territories are also facing similar issues where there is no separate cooking space available. They are Maharashtra (70.97 per cent), Puducherry (69.23 per cent), Manipur (60.50 per cent), Assam (58.66 per cent), Jharkhand (54.57 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (46.72 per cent), Rajasthan (35.58 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (35 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (22.5 per cent), Bihar (10 per cent) and West Bengal (6.10 per cent).
The Integrated Child Development Service scheme was launched in 33 blocks on October 2, 1975, in response to the challenge of meeting the holistic needs of a child. Later, the scheme was extended to all districts of J&K. The scheme offers a package of services, including supplementary nutrition, health education, immunisation and health check-ups.
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