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Lack of Anganwadis in Urban Areas

  • 05 Feb 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the government’s response to a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that for every 100 anganwadi beneficiaries in the country, only 7 are in urban areas.

  • The minuscule presence of beneficiaries is due to lack of Anganwadi centres in urban areas.
  • This shows poor coverage by the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in urban areas.

Anganwadi Centres

  • Anganwadis or day-care centres are set up under the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
    • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Anganwadi centres provide a package of six services: supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, immunisation, nutrition and health education, as well as referral services.
  • Aim: To reduce infant mortality and child malnutrition.
  • Beneficiaries: Children in the age group of zero to six years, and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Current Scenario

  • Number of beneficiaries
    • Out of 7.95 crore beneficiaries of the Anganwadi scheme in the country as on September 30, 2019, only 55 lakh were registered at urban anganwadis.
  • Less number of anganwadi centres in urban areas
    • There are 13.79 lakh anganwadis operational across the country, out of which 9.31 lakh centres are linked to the government’s web-enabled data entry system called Rapid Reporting System.
    • Of that linked anganwadis, 1.09 lakh centres are in urban areas and the remaining 8.22 lakh are in rural areas of the country.
  • Scope for coverage by the scheme
    • National Nutrition Survey 2016-18 found that 35% of children under five were stunted and 17% were wasted.
      • It also found that 22% of children in the age group of 5-9 years were stunted and 23% were thin for their age.
    • Urban areas specific: Children in urban areas showed two to three times higher prevalence of obesity as compared to their peers in rural areas.
  • Latest Step Taken
    • The NITI Aayog has been working on a draft paper to strengthen the ICDS programme in urban areas, keeping in mind challenges such as migration, population density and the long commute involved for workers and beneficiaries.


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