1 ‘Status Anganwadi Services under ICDS

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‘Status Anganwadi Services under ICDS: Way Ahead’

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Imagine a world in which every child…
lives past her fifth birthday;
does not suffer from preventable illnesses;
goes to school and receives a quality education;
is protected from violence and exploitation;
has safe water to drink;
grows up in a clean and nurturing environment.i

In India, these objectives of UNICEF are being driven through Integrated Child Development
Services (ICDS) since 2nd October 1975. Perceived as world’s largest and most unique early child
development program, ICDS has evolved over past few decades.

Uniqueness of ICDS remained in the fact that these services were brought to the doorsteps of
the beneficiaries, through the concept of Anganwadis (literally meaning Courtyard Shelters).
For all these years, Anganwadis have remained fulcrum of ICDS schemes viz Supplementary
Nutrition, Immunization, Health, Education and other referral services.ii

With the advent of Digital empowerment and universalization of Mobile telephony, has made a
positive contribution towards development, health, sanitation and education.
In its report titled, “Digital by default: A guide to transforming government”, McKinsey Center
for Government, states that, by digitizing processes and making organizational changes,
governments could expand services, save money, and improve citizens’ quality of life.iii

In an effort to augment monitoring of services offered, ICDS has gone digital by providing
smartphones to Anganwadi Workers (AWW).
NITI Aayog carried a study titled, “A Quick Evaluation Study of Anganwadis “, in 2015. It was
found that 24.3 percent of ICDS centers surveyed did not maintain records properly. The study
also suggested for a review to be carried out to reduce the number of registers that an
Anganwadi Center maintains.iv

With intent of making its services more efficient, transparent and reliable, Ministry of Women
and Child Development, GoI, launched the Common Application Software (ICDS-CAS) and
Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM). ICT-RTM
provide real-time information on service delivery and enables to employ timely interventions
wherever and whenever required through a hand held device or a smart phone.

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With the help of smart phone an ASHA worker or ANM didi shall now prepare her task for the
day, survey the target households, mark attendance of kids and share pics of ICDS Center for
proper monitoring and evaluation. Progress and growth of a child, can now be carried out
using software by plotting growth charts and plethora of other services shall now be performed
more effectively and efficiently.

In a country as diverse like ours, the accomplishment of any social development initiative
depends on not only the government’s initiatives but active participation from both the private
sector, as well as, citizens themselves. When “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”
is the mantra, efforts must be on to reduce the decision making layers to the minimum while
allowing for faster means of information sharing and dissemination by simplification of
procedures.
i Building an equitable future for today’s children: UNICEF presents new four-year Strategic Plan for approval by its
Board. (2017, September 18). Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/about/execboard/index_100831.html ii The Integrated Child Development Services. (2017, May 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-
integrated-child-development-services-essay iii Digital by default: A guide to transforming government. (2016, November). Retrieved from
https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/public%20sector/our%20insights/transforming%20gove
rnment%20through%20digitization/digital-by-default-a-guide-to-transforming-government-final.ashx iv A Quick Evaluation Study of Anganwadis Under ICDS. (2015, June). Retrieved from
http://niti.gov.in/writereaddata/files/document_publication/report-awc.pdf

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