With the closure of all anganwadi centres in the capital till the end of this month, the provision of supplementary nutrition to children in these centres has come to a pause.
Over the past week, Delhi has seen multiple service facilities temporarily close as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, including schools and colleges. Last week, the Delhi government also ordered the closure of all anganwadi centres until March 31.
There are over 9,000 anganwadi centres across the city, with varying numbers of beneficiaries. Children between 3-6 years of age are provided snacks and a hot cooked meal, while younger children, pregnant women and lactating or nursing mothers are provided take-home rations. With the coronavirus precautions, this has been put on hold.
Anganwadi workers are still reporting to the centres.
“We are doing our administrative record-keeping work and from time to time also talking to people in the locality about precautions against the virus. Beneficiaries have stopped coming to the centre,” said a worker at a centre in Okhla.
Arvind Singh of Matri Sudha, an NGO which works in the field of nutrition, said an alternative method to ensure that those enrolled in the programme receive its benefits should be devised.
“The centres might be closed out of necessity of precaution, but the supply of nutrition cannot be completely stopped. If benefits are not going for the whole of March, the government can do the necessary calculations and transfer it in the form of food allowance,” he said.
According to Section 8 of the Food Security Act, 2013, in case of non-supply of the entitled quantities of foodgrain or meals to entitled persons, such persons shall be entitled to receive food security allowance from the concerned state government as may be prescribed by the central government.
Delhi’s Women and Child Development Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said the action plan will be reviewed next week.
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