The Centre, in a first-of-its-kind Public Private Partnership (PPP), has joined hands with the Vedanta Group to develop and modernise the Anganwadi infrastructure in the country. Anganwadi is the service delivery unit established under the Integrated Child development Scheme (ICDS), the flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development(WCD).
Every year, the Ministry keeps a separate budget to develop infrastructure of Anganwadis so as to improve the overall functioning.Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Minister for WCD has been emphasising the need for these buildings, as places where the women in the villages can gather and discuss their issues and find solutions through collective action.
"The problem of malnutrition is a huge national challenge and the ministry is going to launch the national nutrition mission. This ‘Nand Ghar’ model will provide targeted delivery of supplementary nutrition services along with related healthcare services for both mother and child including skill training for women,” said the Minister while inaugurating the new age Aganwadi at Hasanpur village in Sonipat district on Wednesday.
“We have entered into a partnership with Vedanta group to construct 4000 modern Anganwadis," she said.
In this unique partnership, WCD and Vedanta will share the cost of construction of the buildings, which are prefab structures with solar power. The land for the Anganwadis will be provided by the Gram Panchayats and the construction will be undertaken by NBCC.
The cost of one ‘Nand Ghar’ centre, involving an area of 780 sq ft, is estimated to be around Rs 12 lakhs. It is proposed to have a gap funding model where the WCD ministry will allocate a funding of up to Rs 4.5 lakhs per ‘Nand Ghar’ for its construction using eco-friendly material.
“Vedanta has constructed this ‘Nand Ghar’ at a cost of Rs 12 lakh within a very short span of time. It is equipped with all facilities. I invite innovators, tech students and experts to come out with suggestions to make even better Aganwadis. We will make around 4,000 across the country initially,” Anil Agarwal, Chairman, Vedanta told R&M on the sidelines of the inaugural function.
“Healthy children and empowered women will eradicate poverty and malnutrition, and make a prosperous nation. Our Nand Ghar project aligns with our Prime Minister’s vision and commitment to providing quality education for children and skill development for women, in the entire country," he added.
Under the Anganwadi programme, supplementary nutrition is provided to children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years and to pregnant/lactating mothers. The main objective of ICDS is to fight the problem of malnutrition. In order to reach out to every corner of the country, a network of over 14 lakh Anganwadis have been established in every village, town, city and other habitations. These are manned by social workers who are trained for delivery of nutritional services and are paid an honorarium.
Encouraged with Vedanta’s initiative, Haryana Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain said, “ We have three Aganwadis at Hasanpur, one has now become ‘Nand Ghar. Our government will provide permanent structure similar to Vedanta’s one for two other rented Anganwadis here.
These Anganwadis have been named as "Nand Ghar" by the Prime Minister and a singular design will be followed for these Anganwadis at all locations. The ‘Nand Ghar’ will act as a focal area for immunisation, gender sensitisation and maternal care. It also aims to enhance the learning environment through an e-learning module and skill enhancement program for women. The ‘Nand Ghar’ centres are proposed to be run as a shared space in which 50 percent of the time will be devoted to children’s education and the remaining half will support women’s skill development.
Union Minister for WCD said that the Anganwadis will be developed in some of the high burden districts where the Ministry is proposing to launch the National Nutrition Mission shortly. She said informed that the proposal has already been submitted after an in-principle approval by the Finance Ministry. Gandhi said that the Mission will involve more non-government partners contributing collectively to one common objective of eliminating malnutrition.