Bihar has become the first state in Country to make rural educational units for Children (also called Anganwadis) online.
It was meant to be a scheme to wipe out hunger and malnutrition and ensure basic education for children. Under the Integrated Child Development Services launched in 1975, many states set up anganwadis that offered a range of services to pregnant women, young mothers and children in the under-five age group.
Running the anganwadi centres in Bihar is, however, emerging as quite a challenge. Less than half the centres in the state open daily; and of the children enrolled in them, less than half show up.
“In view of the poor functioning of the anganwadi centres, the government has initiated several measures to improve them.
“Only 46 percent anganwadi centres open daily; the presence of children at the centres that open is low. On an average, 24 of 46 children come to a centre,”
Punitive action has been taken against officials found wanting in the discharge of their duties: 1,593 anganwadi sevikas (workers, mostly women) have been relieved of their charge; three Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs) have been dismissed, 35 have been suspended and 20 others face punishment. Departmental proceedings have also been initiated against some women supervisors and clerks.
In a bid to keep a closer watch on the anganwadi centres, the social welfare department has decided to introduce web-based reporting of the functioning.
“By making monthly reports of the centres available online, Bihar has become the first state in the country to implement web-based reporting of the functioning of anganwadis,” .
The department has also introduced the e-dak software that will facilitate instant communication with CDPOs.
About 6.5 million children, 2.3 million adolescents and 1.3 million pregnant or lactating women are covered by the different programmes offered under the ICDS in the state.