The Centre has instructed state governments and their Women and Child Development (WCD) departments to ensure digitisation of anganwadi services so that migrating families can continue accessing the government’s Take Home Ration scheme even if they move to other states, senior officials of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development have said at its sub-zonal meeting in Kevadia, Gujarat.
Under its Poshan 2.0 programme, the Centre is now focusing on universalisation of access to anganwadi services, particularly for migrant families.
Take Home Ration, or THR, is provided to children between 6 months and 3 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers, as well as adolescent girls as part of the Centre’s flagship Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). Freshly cooked hot food and a morning snack is provided to children between 3 and 6 years, who attend anganwadi centres daily, for 300 days annually.
According to WCD Ministry officials, migrating families often fall through the cracks and stop receiving benefits of anganwadi services when they relocate from one state to another, or even between blocks and districts within a state. The ministry is now pushing for complete digitisation of the process so that registration of beneficiaries of one state can be accessed in any other, which will ensure that even if a family moves, women, and especially children, can continue to get supplementary nutrition given by the government to curb malnutrition.
For children, this digitisation process is already underway through the Poshan Tracker, launched by the WCD Ministry several years ago.
Poshan Abhiyan 2.0 covers over 11 crore children in the country, according to data available on Poshan tracker. Take Home Ration has also been linked to the Poshan tracker to ensure that packets reach the beneficiary.
“The data of beneficiaries was not available before the digitisation process was begun. All services (then) would be conducted offline,” a senior ministry official said. “Now, anganwadi workers have been given smartphones on which they upload data, registration of children and measurements of height and weight, for which they have been provided measuring devices. This data is collected and uploaded in real time.”
“The ICDS scheme is Aadhaar-linked. We are talking to states to ensure that all beneficiaries are Aadhaar-enabled and have therefore supplied Aadhaar kits to anganwadi centres,” the official said. “This means an anganwadi worker can register people on Aadhaar, making it possible to track them even if they move to other states.”