The Women and Child Development ministry plans to call 5,000 anganwadi workers from across India to Delhi to spread awareness about the government’s welfare programmes for women.
“The final estimates are being worked out. We have yet to seek approval of the competent authority,” said Anil Kumar, secretary of the Women and Child Development Ministry.
The national convention has been planned on February 26 and 27. During the convention, the government would also confer the annual anganwadi workers’ and Stree Shakti awards to honour women from different fields.
This is for the first time the UPA government is planning such a massive conference of anganwadi workers.
“It is time for us to recognise the work of anganwadi workers in improving women and child health,” said WCD minister Renuka Chowdhury. Officials in the ministry however think that the poll dates might be declared by that time and the convention may be seen as a massive PR exercise on part of UPA.
There are 10 lakh anganwadi centers under Integrated Child Development Scheme, the world’s biggest nutrition scheme for children below the age of six.
Despite the massive network, India’s malnutrition rate has improved by only one per cent in a decade. But Chowdhury blamed the state governments’ insensitivity towards anganwadi workers for this.
“Not even a single state has given arrears of the increased allowances”, Chowdhury said.
Through this workshop, Chowdhury said, the ministry would hope to create awareness regarding early childhood education; immunisation programmes and other government initiatives to improve health of the child and mother.