- 08 Aug 2020
- 4 min read
Why in News
Right to Food Campaign has given a memorandum to the Minister for Women and Child Development to resume provision of hot-cooked meals and ensure implementation of anganwadi services.
- The memorandum suggested that anganwadi services (like community-managed growth monitoring, supplementary nutrition, immunisation, etc.) should be delivered either within the day care centres or at the houses of the beneficiaries.
- It also recommended a comprehensive package of cooked food and dry rations.
- It also sought protective gear for frontline health workers such as Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and anganwadi workers.
- Background: Following the nationwide lockdown on March 25, the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) implemented at anganwadis was discontinued.
- It impacted nearly 14 lakh anganwadis and over 8 crore beneficiaries (children under six years and pregnant women and lactating mothers)
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development asked State governments and Union Territories to extend food security allowance to each beneficiary.
- According to the POSHAN COVID-19 Monitoring report for India compiled in June 2020, by UNICEF, World Food Programme and the World Bank, 10 of the 14 most populous States did not conduct community management of acutely malnourished children and eight States were unable to measure growth parameters of children under six years.
Right to Food
- The Right to Food is recognized as a part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Article 21) by the National Human Rights Commission.
- The Directive Principles of the State Policy in Article 39a, requires the State to direct its policies towards securing that all its citizens have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.
- The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, gives the right to food but it is not universal.
- It legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
- In People's Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India & Others case (2001), the Supreme Court explicitly established a constitutional human right to food and determined a basic nutritional floor for India's impoverished millions.
- Anganwadi is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by the States / UTs which serves as a rural child and maternal care centre in India.
- It was started by the Government of India In 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
- Anganwadi centres provide a package of six services: supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, immunisation, health check-up, nutrition and health education, and referral services.
- The beneficiaries under the Anganwadi Services Scheme are identified on the basis of Aadhaar.
- At a time when India is battling with Covid-19 it must take into consideration the impact of the pandemic on children and higher food prices in pandemic, and ensure accessibility to nutrition, growth monitoring and health services to every beneficiary.