Uttar Pradesh has the largest population of children (3 crore) of 0-6 years of age and to manage the overall development of these children, especially in rural areas, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is the only way.
However, national coordinator, Forces, Bullu Sareen disclosed on Friday that in reality, out of 1, 31004 Anganbari Centres sanctioned by the UP government, only 75,003 were functional.
Along with them, around 8 lakh crèches were also required but only 14,000 were operational in UP, she said while speaking at a media interaction on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in the post Nithari scenario organised by Plan International and Forces on Wednesday.
The interaction was organised for stock taking of the ECCD programmes running in UP.
Sareen said that child security had become an important concern in the post Nithari scenario but the issue was a broader one, involving the rights of the young child in the framework of security, protection, development and participation.
These parameters seemed to be nil in UP where government was not capable of using all funds allocated for making crèches and return almost 50 per cent grants every year to the Central Government.
The State spent only Rs 0.51 per day per beneficiary under ICDS scheme. The government was not able to give matching grant to the Central Government for running ICDS services.
ECCD advisor, Nirali Mehta said that the Government of India was planning to launch the National Child Protection Scheme but the social childcare and protection structures should not be ignored. Existing childcare centres should be geared up to offer protection to each and every child.