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Mother groups to buy food for child welfare scheme

With an aim to check irregularities in the Integrated Child Development Scheme,the state government has decided to give more powers to Matri Samitis or the mothers’ committees.

With an aim to check irregularities in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS),the state government has decided to give more powers to Matri Samitis or the mothers’ committees.

The Department of Women and Child Development has decided that beginning April,the money for the foodgrains to be used for the scheme will be given directly to these committees,which in turn would purchase the grains.

Department officials say the system will not only ensure a check on misuse of money, but also,since the mothers have to buy grains for their own children,there would be no compromise with the quality.

The ICDS is a Centrally-funded programme,which caters to the nutrition needs of children between 0-6 years age group. These children are covered by the anganwadi centres,where hot cooked food is served to them and the anganwadi workers regularly check their weight and growth. The Matri Samitis,which are formed at village levels,comprise women whose children are covered under the particular anganwadi centre. The main role of these committees is to monitor the functioning of the anganwadi centres and ensure regular activities and distribution of food.

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So far,the food grains were purchased by anganwadi workers and the money was deposited in the accounts of the gram pradhans. From April,each Matri Samiti will have its own bank account,where the money for purchasing the grains will be deposited. Also,the task of buying the grains will be managed by the mothers themselves.

Principal Secretary (Women and Child Development) Balvinder Kumar has already issued orders in this regards to all the districts. “The ICDS has been under scanner for irregularities and there were complaints regarding the quality of the food grains used in the scheme. Often,we got complaints of poor quality or rotten grains being used for the meals,which was dangerous. And the role of both the gram pradhan and the anganwadi worker was constantly under scanner,” Kumar told The Indian Express. Kumar said the new move will certainly help them maintain quality and monitor the scheme.

“Since the Matri Samitis have mothers of the children as their members,they will ensure that their children get the best. We will have a roster system where every month,a group of three or four mothers will be going to buy the grains. They will be buying it from the local PDS shop and in case the quality is poor,they can always report the matter to the block or district level officers. We will be opening bank accounts of these mother’s committees to give them financial independence as well,” said Kumar.

First published on: 17-03-2011 at 03:59:56 am
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