Patna,(BiharTimes): The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has not reached over half of the eligible children belonging to the Mahadalit section of Bihar in the stipulated age group of zero to six years.
Revealing this fact a survey conducted by Bihar Lok Adhikar Manch (BLAM) and Child Rights and You (CRY) said there are 91,677 ICDS centres in Bihar, as per the 2011 census. But the survey found that 45 per cent of the total child population in the zero to six years category were not covered by the ICDS, and the ICDS centres were not up to the mark.
The survey was conducted in 20 of 38 districts of the state and covered 200 of the 45,381 ICDS centres in Dalit and Mahadalit hamlets of these districts.
A sizeable majority of the ICDS centres were found to be running in private buildings. Only nine per cent of them had toilet facilities, while 38 per cent had access to safe drinking water.
Saradindu Bandyopadhyay of CRY said even the State government’s annual report for 2011-2012 on ICDS states that only 50 per cent of the children are being covered under the Scheme.
The study said hardly one per cent of malnourished children in need of immediate attention were referred to healthcare centres as the anganwadi workers were not aware of the services.
Besides, no referral services were found in 66 per cent of the ICDS centres which were surveyed. Despite good reviews of the scheme by people in certain places, glaring gaps remained.
Bandyopadhyay said that around 25 per cent of the centres did not maintain birth and death records for disabled children. There was also a lack of communication and coordination in the ICDS delivery chain, the survey found.