Anganwadi centres didn't help check malnutrition in children: Maneka Gandhi

Anganwadi centres didn't help check malnutrition in children: Maneka Gandhi

Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, has stressed overhauling anganwadi centres to check child malnutrition. Anganwadi centres have been working for 40 years, but malnutrition among children hasn’t come down satisfactorily, she said on Monday.

She also announced launching a mission this year to check malnutrition and said state governments had been instructed not to use anganwadi workers for tasks that had nothing to do with children’s welfare.

When asked about the demand for better facilities for anganwadi workers, the minister said that compared with other states, anganwadi workers were paid more in Karnataka. They can be promoted to supervisors after 10 years of service.
 The minister, who is known for her tough stand against sexual offenders, said the government would appoint special female volunteers in every village to check harassment of women and children. The process to appoint these volunteers will be completed in two months.

These volunteers will be paid phone and other allowances and will work under the respective Superintendent of Police (SP) and the district administration. Their job would to be to tip off the police about sexual violence, harassment, trafficking, child marriage and other crimes.

A similar experiment called ‘Shourya Dal’ in Madhya Pradesh has drastically brought down the crime rate there, Gandhi suggested.  She also said the government would open ‘Sakhi,’ a one-stop centre which offers legal counselling and other services free of charge to women in distress, in all districts in two years, and ‘Childline’, a helpline for children in distress, in all cities. Besides, the government is working on a plan to instal a special button in mobile phones within two months to help women in distress. The button will help contact the police immediately in such situations, she added.

She also said those convicted of sexual crimes would be made to report to the police regularly even after their release or when they stay in other states. In addition, the government will maintain a central register of criminals and a database of taxi drivers.

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