With around 70 per cent Anganwadis running from rented premises, the government has decided to build one lakh such centres every year over the next four years instead of 50,000 per annum, so that four lakh AWCs have their own children-friendly buildings by 2019.
The Women and Child Development Ministry has accordingly written to the department of Rural Development for amending the construction guidelines for Anganwadi Centres (AWC) to provide for building one lakh centres each year for four years to meet the shortage.
The earlier proposal was to setup 50,000 AWCs per year in 2,534 most backward blocks in 11 states which have high malnutrition. “There is an acute shortage of Anganwadi buildings even outside high-burden districts. Therefore, a need was felt to include other areas also for construction AWC buildings under the convergence of MGNREGA and ICDS to meet the acute shortage of buildings,” said a senior WCD official.
“Accordingly, construction of one lakh AWCs per annum for next four years would be necessary to overcome the shortage,” he said. The scheme would be funded partly from Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and partly from the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) budget.
“Expenditure up to Rs 5 lakh will be borne by Rural Development Department under MGNREGA scheme and beyond it by WCD from its ICDS programme,” the official said. The project will be jointly implemented by WCD, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ministries which will provide for facilities like water, sanitation and land for the building.