Rajasthan’s Churu district, which often records the hottest summer at over 50 degrees Celsius and reels under a severe cold wave during winters, may soon see its anganwadi centres connected with power supply for the first time as the State government plans electrification of 37,000 anganwadis as part of its efforts to improve infrastructure facilities for beneficiaries of government programmes.
The proposal is worth over ₹260 crore, which will include one-time expenditure on installation of solar power units and recurring cost of ₹55 crore annually towards electricity bill.
There are a total of 82,000 anganwadis in Rajasthan, but the proposal is for those facilities that are outside school premises.
“We hope the move will result in improvement in attendance at anganwadis,” Rajasthan Women and Child Development Secretary K.K. Pathak told The Hindu .
“The State government’s attention towards electrification is impressive, given that we have seen that while the Central government has promised to prioritise infrastructural facilities such as toilets and water supply, progress on the ground has been slower than the current need, especially with COVID,” says Avani Kapur, Director, Accountability Initiative.
Last year, a senior official of the Union government said that there were plans to upgrade 2.5 lakh out of the total 14 lakh anganwadis in the country. As per the government data presented in Parliament, 3.6 lakh anganwadi centres don’t have toilet facilities and 1.6 lakh don’t have drinking water facilities.
As of June 2019, as many as 12% anganwadi centres also operated out of kutcha buildings, including all centres in Arunachal Pradesh, 95% centres in Nagaland, 86% in Manipur, 41% in Bihar and 19% in Tamil Nadu, according to an analysis by the Accountability Initiative.