Karnataka

More children benefit from ICDS programme during pandemic

In July, 41.93 lakh children aged between six months and six years were covered under the Integrated Child Development Services programme and received dry ration.  

While several health and nutrition programmes have been hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme in Karnataka appears to have bucked the trend. In fact, more children have enrolled and benefited from it during the pandemic compared to earlier.

Interestingly, this period has also seen a trend of parents enrolling children to anganwadis in their vicinity, taking them out of private pre-primary schools.

According to statistics by the Department of Women and Child Development in July, 41.93 lakh children aged between six months and six years were covered under the programme and received dry ration. According to the data, 90.92% of the total 46.12 lakh children targeted were covered. In March, 39.36 lakh children in the same age group were covered. As much as 73.58% of the targeted 53.36 lakh children were covered under the programme.

Prior to the pandemic when anganwadi centres were open, dry ration was given to families of children in the age group of six months to three years and children in the age group three to six years were given hot meals at the anganwadi centre. Now, both categories of beneficiaries receive ration at their doorstep, delivered by anganwadi workers.

K.A. Dayanand, director of the department, said an additional 2 lakh children were able to receive the benefits of the programme because of direct delivery. “Earlier, children from some families would not come to the anganwadis. But now since we are delivering ration to the doorstep, more people are getting covered during the pandemic. We view this as an extremely positive development,” he said. The ration is supplied monthly and includes items like rice, different types of dals, oil, masala, jaggery, sugar, milk powder, and peanut among others.

N. Nagalakshmi, anganwadi worker at Malleshpalya in Bengaluru, said parents of four students who go to private pre-primary schools have registered with their anganwadi centres. “Parents told us that even after the pandemic ends, they will send their children to anganwadis as they will not be able to afford the school fees,” she said.

Rohini Managuli, anganwadi worker at Jambagi village in Bagalkot district, said prior to the pandemic, 35 children were enrolled at the anganwadi centre. “This month, we have given rations to around 40 children. When we go to a particular locality, some families who have children in the same age group ask us for food, so we deliver to them as well,” she said.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 10:57:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/more-children-benefit-from-icds-programme-during-pandemic/article32575394.ece

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