Q. Are parents sending their children to the Anganwadi centres? What kind of challenges are you facing in this regard?
Lady Supervisor (LS): There is still fear somewhere in the mind of the parents, because of which not many children come to the centre. Even now, enrollment of children is low. The way COVID-19 information is published in the newspapers and bulletins affects the thought process of the people, and they are afraid to send the children to the Anganwadi.
But we are trying to spread awareness and accurate information, because of which we now hope that the attendance will definitely increase in the future.
Q. Do you see a change in the status of malnutrition in children?
Have referrals increased because of severe malnutrition? Apart from this, what all is being given to children as nutritious food?
LS: The rate of malnutrition is less than before. Due to COVID-19, when parents were at home, they paid better attention to children’s meals. It is not that they used to give special food, whatever was available in the house was served, but at least children used to get three meals a day. This is the reason we are seeing an improvement in malnutrition status.
But there is also a possibility that as parents go out for work, they won’t be able to pay attention to their children's meals, due to which the rate of malnutrition can increase.
Different hot cooked meals are given according to the day at the centres. The rest of the beneficiaries are given Take Home Rations (THR). Additional food is provided for malnourished children.
Q. Are the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) being monitored regularly?
LS: We are monitoring the AWCs regularly. Right now, we are focussing on the attendance of the children and seeing whether THR is being received on time or not by our beneficiaries. If a girl child is born, then we work on filling the form of Ladli Lakshmi Yojana*.
We are also focussing on tracking whether the beneficiaries are getting the amount entitled to them on time under Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).
Q. Is Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)** taking place at the AWC? What instructions have you received regarding ECCE?
LS: We received information about ECCE two years back. No information has been given to us regarding ECCE currently. Although we know that, under the National Education Policy, ECCE has to be taken forward. It is not yet clear through what means we are to do so. We will work accordingly, once we receive the information from the relevant department.
Q. Have you received any complaints regarding service delivery from the beneficiaries in the last two years? If yes, how did you resolve them?
LS: The Aadhaar cards issued by us under the PMMVY sometimes have the old account bank number of the beneficiary, due to which money goes to the same account. But SBI accounts need to be opened for PMMVY. In such situations, a complaint is made by the beneficiary that they have not received the money. Then we have to look at the online system and inform them about the transfers.
Similarly, under the Ladli Lakshmi scheme, if a girl has left for some other place, then we have a lot of trouble in finding her. When a complaint comes to us, we get a Panchnama made from the residents of that place and submit it.
This interview was conducted with a Lady Supervisor in Madhya Pradesh in Hindi on 26 April 2022, and has been translated.
*The Ladli Laxmi Yojna was implemented in Madhya Pradesh in April 2007 with an aim to improve positive thinking among the public towards girl child birth, sex ratio, and educational level and health condition of girls, laying the foundation for their good future.
** The National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy was adopted in 2013. The Policy reaffirms GoI’s commitment to provide integrated services for the holistic development of all children from prenatal period to six years of age. ECCE aims to facilitate optimal development of a child's potential and lays the foundation for holistic development and lifelong learning. It includes care, health, nutrition, play and early learning within a protective and enabling environment.