UP: Insufficient Nutrition Packages Cause Rift Between Anganwadis and Community
Uttar Pradesh Anganwadi Employees Union demanded timely and appropriate delivery of supplementary nutrition to anganwadi centres as per Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) scheme. The demand was reiterated following a conflict between workers and the people of Bulandshahr on February 28, 2022.
On Monday, anganwadi workers protested outside the district administration’s office to demand an FIR and arrest of the people who attacked employees distributing food in Kucheja village. Villagers tried to snatch the meagre rations, enraged by the little supply available. They accused the workers of hoarding ration meant for beneficiaries.
But the truth according to State President Veena Gupta is that many anganwadi centres received the supplementary ration supply after three months. She told SabrangIndia that the growing discontent among the people has begun ruining the relationship between anganwadi workers and society, as such incidents have increased across the state. “Anganwadi workers have to face the wrath of the local community due to lack of nutrition. The incidents of snatching by beneficiaries are becoming common due to low nutrition in many places in India,” said Gupta.
Under the ICDS scheme, beneficiaries, i.e., children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers receive a supplementary nutrition package as per Supreme Court orders. However, Gupta said that centres have not been receiving appropriate nutrition packages during the tenure of the Yogi Adityanath-led government. “We had to write to human rights authorities to finally avail half a kilogram of rice. Even that is very little,” she said.
Meanwhile, people are enraged that only 30 to 40 percent of the total beneficiaries receive nutrition supplies at the Anganwadi centres. As such, the union demanded that nutrition should be provided based on the number of beneficiaries.
Every district centre must also get a board to display the ration available for the determined number of beneficiaries on that day. Similarly, the government should issue a press release when it sends the ration to publicly announce how many beneficiaries will receive nutrition on that day.
Gupta said that conflicts will escalate if this is not done and the situation may go astray. For example, the angered people in Bulandhahr belonged to the Muslim community. Shortly afterwards, the incident was mistakenly dubbed as a Hindu-Muslim conflict. In reality parents were worried about feeding their children and other family dependents during an economic crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Already, anganwadi workers, mid-day meal workers and ASHAs have reiterated time and again about insufficient help from the government in the form of honorariums, health-related gear and scheme-related ration. The union strongly condemned the attack on the anganwadi workers and urged employees to exercise restraint and beware of communal elements.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.