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Lens on rural health centres

Ranchi, May 25: Acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, having robbed health department mandarins of their sleep, is now planning to go on a statewide recce to find out if anganwadi centres are functioning properly.

Chakraborty wants to collect first-hand information on anganwadi centres — the first contact point between the government and rural people — through surprise inspections.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Sunday, Chakraborty said, “The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) is the world’s largest and oldest programme for development of children in the early stage. Had it been functioning properly, there would not have been a single malnourished child around. So, I will have to check on my own.”

Elaborating on the issue, he said, “While visiting health centres (night inspections), I came across many first-time mothers with low weight and underweight infants. None of those women had gone for complete antenatal check-ups. It is for anganwadi kendras to provide all information regarding childbirth and facilities available at health centres. Also, they are expected to give supplementary nutrition to would-be mothers.”

The anganwadi kendras run under the ICDS, which was launched on October 2, 1975. In Jharkhand, there are around 40,000 such centres.

Last year, the CAG report tabled in Parliament on performance of ICDS pointed out that everything was not fine in Jharkhand. According to the CAG, there were several gaffes in implementation of the project in the state that was undermining the very objective of ICDS.