The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme was launched in 1975 seeking to provide an integrated package of services in a convergent manner for the holistic development of the child. It is the only Govt. programme in the country that aims to cater to the nutrition requirements and other health, immunization, and early education needs of the most vulnerable groups of population namely children under six years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls through providing a package of services including supplementary nutrition, pre-school education, immunization, health check-up, referral services and nutrition & health education. This programme is implemented throughout the country. Hearing the Writ petition filed by PUCL vs Govt. of India since 2001, the Supreme Court has given a number of interim orders to both Govt. of India and State Govt. and Union Territories for effective implementation of this scheme ensuring the coverage of all children below six years, all pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls in all rural habitations and urban slums with all nutritional and health services of the ICDS. To ensure effective implementation of ICDS programme, Govt. of Odisha has developed new guideline in the state w.e.f. 1stJuly 2013. Under this guideline, the Govt. has made numerous arrangements like provision of cooked egg for children of 3 to 6 years of age in 3 day in a week, provision of two egg in each week for pregnant and lactating women and children of 7 months to 3 years, release of fund for SNP to Anganwadi Worker in every month, Allowance of Rs. 5000/- to each pregnant and Lactating Women under Mamata Yojana, strengthening Mothers’ Committee and Jaanch Committee to monitor Anganwadi food programme etc. The State Govt. has also devised another new guideline to implement different activities envisaged under the convergent plan for the PVTGs (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups). It presents an overview of the strategy to be adopted by the Department of Health & FW, DWCD and Dept. of SC & ST Development in addressing the health and nutritional needs of the PVTGs. It is being implemented in the state from March 2014. Similarly, the State Govt. is also implementing a Project called Nutrition Operational Plan from 2010-15 with the objective to carry out various activities including awareness programme for sensitizing the people, community to increase nutritional standard of the children.About the Area
Astakuanr Gram Panhayat, consisting of 11 villages like Astakuanr, Kukurbhuka, Makabadi, Gopinath Pur, Nawana, Gada Similipal -1 and 2, Balarampur, Budhabalang, Sarada, Lembujhar is located inside Similipal Biosphere reserve area under Jashipur Block of Mayurbhanj district. This Panhayat is highly forest-infested stretching around 20 km radius and 25 kms away from Jashipur Block headquarter. The road approaching to this Astakuanr is stony. Tribals like Santal, Kohla constitute the dominant caste in this Panchayat. Most of the tribal people are illiterate. The Primary education system has been collapsed due to long absence of the teachers in the school.Objective of the Social Audit
Social Audit is a tool used to enforce transparency and accountability in respect of implementation of any development programme and provides the opportunity to the people to monitor and review the programme. It has come to the notice to the organisers that there is large scale corruption and irregularities in implementation of ICDS programme in the area. Keeping it in view, Right to Food campaign, Odisha and CREFTDA, local NGO have decided to conduct social audit to ascertain fact and enforce the effective implementation of the programme involving all concerned.
Proceedings of Social Audit
Social Audit on ICDS programme was held at Nawana Primary School on 11.10.15. Around 100 participants including Anganwadi Workers, Panchayat Representatives, NGO representatives, villagers, pregnant and lactating woman had participated in the social audit programme. Prominent figures and members of Right to Food campaign, Odisha who attended the meeting were Mrs. Sunanda Nayak, Supervisor, Mohanty Birua, Samiti Member, Nimi Tapno, Ward Member, Turi Hanga, Anganwadi Worker, Sambari Birua, Ward Member, Sri Bijay Mahanta, CREFTDA, Sri Pradip Pradhan, State Convener, Members like Sri Khirod Rout, Sri Dibakar Nayak, Sri Ashok Parida, Sri Bal Mukund Shukla had participated in the deliberation. The members facilitated the social audit and encouraged women to speak clearly about their problem.
At the outset, Sri Dhaneswar Mahanta, local volunteer delivered welcome address and spoke about the objectives of Social audit. Sri Pradip Pradhan coordinated the programme. The villagers and the beneficiaries were asked to share their experience and concerns in respect of benefit received by them from Anganwadi centre. It needs to be mentioned here that the information about details of beneficiaries and the quantity of food items could not be collected due to absence of the Anganwadi workers in the centre. The details of the presentation made by the villagers and the beneficiaries are as follows.
|Sl. No||Name||Content of the issues|
|1||Dusuma Muduya, Latatig woman||She is receiving only one pocket of Chhatua and no egg from Angawadi Centre since months together. There is no pre-school education in the centre.|
|2||Sambari Barua, Ward Member||Only half of egg instead of one egg is given to the children in the meal served at the centre. As he is one of the signatories for drawal of money from the Bank sanctioned for ICDS programme, the Anganwadi Worker just took his signature for drawal of money without intimating me about expenditure. On query about why he is signing the drawal form, he said that he was forced to sign with intention not disrupt the preparation of the food in the centre.|
|3||Kuni Tiu, Anganwadi Worker||Fund for food is not sanctioned every month. There is always delay of 3 to 4 months in disbursement of fund to the centre by the office of CDPO, Jashipur. She is asked to manage the centre by borrowing from the local shop.|
|4||Rajani Tihu, Lactating woman||She was found holding a baby of 6 month. She spoke that she had received just four egg within six months and eight egg within 16 months starting from his pregnancy to till yet.|
|5||Sitaram Piu||She said that she had child of one year. Now she is conceived again. But the worker has stopped providing Chhatua (THR) to her child.|
|6||Padmini Purty||No child within age group of 7 month to 3 years gets 8 egg per month from the centre. The Worker uses to give 4 to 6 egg to the beneficiaries.|
|7||Suni Mahakud, Pregnant woman||One Pocket of Chhatua instead of two pockets is provided to them in a month. Only two eggs is provided in a month. The Anganwadi Worker is found twice in a month in the entre. She never stays in the centre.|
Other participants also highlighted similar kind of issue in the social audit and demanded action against the Anganawdi workers and other officials responsible it.
Mohanty Birua, Samiti Member:– Participating in the discussion, he said that no Anganwadi centre is running successfully in his Panchayat. It is due to long absence of the Anganwadi Workers in the centre. Showing two complaints presented to the Collator, Mayurbhanj on 20.8.14 and 18.11.14, he said that though all the Panchayat representatives filed complaints demanding action against Anganwadi Workers, no step has been taken against them by the administration till yet. There is huge corruption and irregularities in distribution of egg and Chhatua by Anganwadi Worker in the Panchayat. Good qualitative food is not served to the children.
Sunanda Nayak, Supervisor: – She could not respond to the issues raised in the social audit and sat very helplessly.
Other issues highlighted during audit
- The villagers are hardly aware about Mothers’ committee and Jaanch Committee. These Committees are functioning in pen and paper.
Most of the Anganwadi buildings are in dilapidated conditions. The members made spot visit to Nawana Anganwadi centre and found it dilapidated since four years. No new building has been made till yet. Due to this situation, food is prepared under the sky or helper’s house.
- No materials for pre-school education are available in any centre.
- It was found that there is delay of 4 to 5 months in disbursement of salary for helpers and Anganwadi workers in the area.
Analysis and Recommendations
- Anganwadi Workers are found very casual and having no commitment to run the Anganwadi centre in these inaccessible areas. Due to their long absence, the Anganwadi centre has been left in the hand of ill-trained helpers. Though the Panchayat Representatives have made several complaints to higher authority, no action has been taken by them. The inaction of the authority has encouraged them to go any extent of mismanaging the ICDS programme in this area. So it is recommended that these Anganwadi Workers should be transferred or dismissed immediately. New Anganwadi workers to be selected from each village should be appointed in the centre.
- Non-distribution of egg and irregularities in distribution of egg needs to be enquired and action should be taken against the officials or AWW responsible for it.
- There is complaint of irregular supply or one pocket of Chhatua to the beneficiaries. It means the beneficiaries have been deprived of their legitimate rights to get two pocket of chhatua per month. The authority should enquire into the allegation and take steps against the manufacturer of Chhatua or any officials responsible for it.
- Most of the Anganwadi centres do not have building or running in dilapidated building. So it is recommended that the State Govt. should take steps immediately to repair the building and go for construction of building for the centre in a time bound manner.
- Pre-school education needs to be imparted to the children in all centres.
- Mothers committee and Jaanh committee needs to be sensitised and strengthened. The local NGO should be given responsibility to conduct training and awareness programme in the area.
- Monitoring is never conducted by the supervisors or the CDPO in this area. Had it been done, this irregularities would have been sorted out. The Govt. should fix responsibility on supervisor and CDPO for it.