In a major initiative, the Centre is set to digitise the work of aangandwadis across the country starting with 27 most-backward districts. The two-year long process is aimed at stemming pilferage and better monitoring of health indicators of mothers and children under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
Under the project, all aanganwadi workers will be provided with tablets to periodically enter data which will flow into a central server of the respective state governments.
As of March 2015, 13.46 lakh aanganwadis are operational in the country. These are meant to act as primary centres for providing supplementary nutrition, healthcare and pre-school education to children in the age group of zero to six and their mothers under the ICDS scheme.
“At present, aanganwadi workers have to maintain 12 registers, while the supervisor has to physically verify entries made by 50-odd workers. This has led to ineffective monitoring of the scheme’s reach among the intended beneficiaries. It also becomes difficult to track any resultant improvement on the various health and education parameters,” said an official from the Ministry of Woman and Child Development (WCD). The ministry will initially provide electronic tablets which allow interface in English and Hindi and will eventually have it in various regional languages.
Officials said that the decision to go ahead with the digitisation was taken following successful trail runs in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. The process will start in December by covering 27 of the poorest districts in UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
The process will also integrate data collated by the health ministry which is involved in carrying out immunisation, health check-ups and nutrition education under the ICDS scheme.
“We plan to cover at least one lakh aanganwadis by the end of the current financial year,” said the official. The WCD Ministry is expected to release the draft guidelines for the digitisation process later this month.