June 29, 2021 12:52:01 am
Even as offline activities are yet to resume in most of the educational institutions across the state due to Covid-19 curbs, the Gujarat government will organise an event on June 29 to distribute uniforms to children at anganwadis. While anganwadi workers have uniforms, this is the first time that uniforms are being given to anganwadi children.
The uniforms, procured by the Women and Child Development department of Gujarat, will be distributed at a symbolic event in Gandhinagar by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, while anganwadis across the state will distribute uniform as well as a hygiene kit and join the event via live video-conferencing.
A release from the government of Gujarat on Monday evening stated that over 14 lakh students will be handed over uniforms at the event on Tuesday.
A circular, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, issued to the district education departments by the Director of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) of Commissionerate of Women and Child Development Department (WCD) of the state on June 23, lays down the programme schedule as well as instructions to distribute the uniforms to children on June 29.
Confirming this, ICDS deputy director Ilaben Rana told The Indian Express, “This is the first time in Gujarat and perhaps in any state of the country that anganwadi children are getting uniform.”
Asked about the need for uniforms, Rana said, “The basic idea of the scheme announced in the budget in the year 2019-20 was to give an identity to anganwadi children. It got delayed due to the Covid pandemic as the tender was finalised in February 2020. Finally we are able to distribute the uniforms.”
Girls will have grey pinafore dress and boys will have grey shorts, both paired with beige check shirts. Department sources revealed that two sets of these uniforms given to each child cost Rs 250.
The circular states, “An event to distribute uniforms to students between three and six years of age will be held on June 29 by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. All districts will join via live video-conferencing… Following the distribution of the uniforms by CM, the districts will continue to distribute the uniforms in their individual events, following Covid-19 guidelines.”
All districts in four zones of the state, except Gandhinagar, have been asked to organise separate events for municipal corporations and district schools. According to the circular, the program will be 60 minutes. “Six children will be handed over the uniform on stage for the symbolic distribution — a girl and boy, each, from the age groups of 3 to 4 years, 4 to 5 years and 5 to 6 years. The rest of the uniforms will be distributed by the aanganwadi supervisors,” an official said.
Along with the uniform, a hygiene kit will also be handed out to the students to emphasise on Covid-19 precautions. The kit will have a bottle of sanitiser, a mask and a handkerchief, according to the circular. An official said that the uniform would include a shirt and half pants for boys and a shirt and pinafore dress for girls. The instruction adds, “Care must be taken to ensure that the hygiene kit and uniforms should be attractively packed.”
To welcome guests at the events, the organising local bodies must hand over “photographs of the art and craft work done by the students during the academic year”, it states.
Officials say that 16,148 uniforms will be distributed to 8,074 beneficiaries at the event in the jurisdiction of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) alone. The official said, “The uniforms are procured by the state government directly… Anganwadis will not reopen any time soon but we will follow the instructions given to us.”
A government release on Monday said that 98,214 children in Ahmedabad district would receive their set of two uniforms.
Minister of State for Narmada and Urban Housing, Yogesh Patel, who will preside over the event in Vadodara, said, “The anganwadis will reopen soon. We have 399 anganwadis in Vadodara with about 8,000 children. The uniforms are being distributed in advance as part of preparations to reopen.”
According to the annual report of the WCD, the ICDS budget allotted by the state for the year 2020-2021 was Rs 2,48,683.99. Until the year 2019-20, Gujarat had recorded 53,029 Anganwadis with 45.82 lakh beneficiaries.
Minister of State for WCD, Education (Primary & Higher Education) Vibhavari Dave and WCD secretary KK Nirala refused to comment on the reasons for distributing the uniform.
At the event, the WCD will receive a certificate from the World Book of Records, London, for a record created in October 2020 to mark Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti, where five lakh people joined its hand-washing program through a web link, a government release said on Monday.
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