: : via IBNS : :
Lucknow, July 19: Despite recommendations from local authorities, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is still not implemented in village Jalapur of Uttar Pradesh thereby threatening the right to food of children and women in the village, said FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), a global human rights body working on right to food.
ICDS programmes address the health and nutrition needs of children under the age of six and also extend to adolescent girls, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
ICDS is provided through a network of centers called "Anganwadis" (AWC). It is mandatory for the state to provide AWC for every settlement with forty children. However, in Jalalpur where 300 families reside, including 100 children, the state has failed to establish AWC, thereby making children and women susceptible to hunger and under nourishment.
FIAN said an international action is urgently needed to ensure that the state provides ICDS in Jalalpur so that children and women can receive supplementary nutrition and health care.
"Please write polite letters to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, requesting her to meet the obligations under the human right to adequate food," it said.
In India, 16 percent of the population is below six years of age and every second child is underweight. In Uttar Pradesh, according to the Sample Registration Service (SRS) 47 percent of the children under 3 are underweight.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), established in India in 1975, is the major national programme addressing the health and nutritional needs of children under the age of six.
It seeks to provide infants and young children with an integrated package of services, including supplementary nutrition, health care and pre-school education.
Since the needs of a child cannot be addressed in isolation from those of his or her mother, the programme also extends to adolescent girls, pregnant women and nursing mothers. ICDS services are provided through a vast network of ICDS centres, better known as "Anganwadis" (AWC).
It is mandatory for the state government to provide an AWC to every settlement with 40 children.
Although the ICDS scheme has been working for over 30 years, the number of malnourished children is still very high. In many settlements, particularly slums or rural areas, children are still excluded from the benefits of the scheme.
According to FIAN, the situation in Jalalpur village is a case in point. The village of Jalalpur is located in Lakhimpur district in Uttar Pradesh and the home to around 300 families. Most of them belong to the Dalit caste.
The main source of food for the locals is rice that lacks a variety of vitamins or proteins.
"There are around 100 children in the village, but there is no AWC or school despite the fact that it is mandatory for the state government to set up an AWC for each settlement with at least 40 children," FIAN said.
Image Source: Akshay Patra