Imphal/Kolkata: More than three and half decades since it was started, the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) remains work-in-progress. Around 80 percent of the centres lack a proper kitchen in Manipur, found a survey.
The survey conducted by Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) - a state alliance of NGOs supported by Child Rights and You (CRY) - covered 2,353 children from 80 villages across seven districts in Manipur.
Of the existing 193 ICDS centres in the sample area, a rapid assessment was conducted on 80 centres to map the functioning status and performance of Anganwadi centres.
The survey showed that around 80 percent of the ICDS centres surveyed were not equipped with a proper and designated kitchen for cooking food, while only one-fourth of the ICDS centres were running in government constructed buildings.
It is also reported that 56.25 percent centres provide supplementary nutritional food on a regular basis, 27.5 percent three times a week, and 8.75 percent only once in three months.
According to the respondents, 68.75 percent centres provide quality food, while 28.75 percent do not serve good quality food as per norms, and 2.5 percent dole out "very poor quality" food.
Findings from the survey also show that 10 percent of the centres do not provide a hot, cooked meal, and 21.25 percent distribute food grains at the door steps.
Only 28.75 percent of ICDS centres provide additional food to the adolescent child (between 11-18 years) as per norms, while only 8.75 percent centres provide additional nutritional support on a regular basis.
Another interesting set of data shows that only 10 percent of the ICDS centres have children in attendance for four hours a day, even though these are supposed to serve as day care centres.
Of the sample, 52.75 percent ICDS centres are reported to keep children for one to two hours, while 8.75 percent keep children for only half an hour a day.
According to data collected, at least 10 percent of the ICDS Centres do not have any playing material for children.
While the report shows perceptible gaps in ICDS implementation, it also throws light on the insufficient budget allocation and lack of coordination in fund utilisation.
On-ground data shows that a whopping 94 percent of the surveyed ICDS centres take direct responsibility of bearing transportation costs of food materials, and at more than 90 percent of the surveyed centres, workers do not get their honorarium in time.