Several anganwadis in the State exist only on paper, if representatives of several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are to be believed. During the eighth State-level public hearing on child rights violations organised by Samajika Parivartana Janandolana (SPJ) here on Friday, many claims were made of anganwadis being run from temples, rented houses, in the middle of graveyards, and some not even existing.

Vasudev Sharma, member of the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR) spoke about several instances where anganwadis listed in government records did not exist. “Supervisors would have given a report claiming to have visited the centre. Records of salaries being paid to the teachers, expenditure on mid-day meals, among other expenses are also available. But on searching for the anganwadi, we discovered that it does not exist,” he said.

Some destitute homes which receive significant funds are in fact profit-making hostels, he added.

Calling for a shift in perspective for funding agencies and NGOs, Mr. Sharma said they should not become “implementers”; rather, they should be “monitors”. “Instead of complaining about existing facilities and opening alternative ones, NGOs should work towards making the existing ones better,” he said. Earlier, inaugurating the programme, C.S. Dwarakanath, former chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, criticised the government for the high prevalence of malnourishment in the State, recalling lack of commitment to include eggs in the diet chart of anganwadis.