Current Public Administration Magazine (March - 2016) - Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Programme in The Context of Urban Poor and Slum Dwellers in India

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Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Programme in The Context of Urban Poor and Slum Dwellers in India

The challenges

that ICDS programme in urban areas is presently confronted with and augur the need to strengthen the ICDS programme in urban areas. The analysis clearly reflects services related to ICDS in urban areas are not without serious limitation and challenges especially in the wake of increase in urban population and slum settlements and inclusion of new areas under urban settings. The discussion also brings forth the gap between the policy intentions of ICDS and its actual implementation at field and raises serious concerns on functioning of ICDS programme in urban areas. For example, the AWCs in slum or in urban areas is confronted with issues ranging from infrastructural constraints for AWCs (buildings, space, water and sanitation facilities, inadequate rental provision to run the AWC properly; unmapped and unrecognised slums and squatters; left out and drop out; increasing migrant and mobile population; difficulty in identifying and reaching out to migrant and working population; lack of convergence with health and allied departments and local bodies, lack of knowledge and capacity among service provider; absence of an effective primary health care system in urban areas; lack of awareness and community participation, issues of gender, self-identity and inadequate access and poor quality of services, etc. In the context of foregoing analysis and objectives of this article, it is important to highlight some recommendations for ICDS programme, in urban areas that have emerged from discussion. Over all, the trend emerging out of this discussion in the form of immediate and intermediate recommendations are summarised in following points: There is a need to think about AWCs cum-day-care centres/Creche in urban settings to facilitate working mothers; establishing mobile AWC; mapping and reallocation of left-out listed slums; use of temporary structures such as Porta Cabins or other temporary structures as AWCs; co-location of AWCs in schools wherever feasible, provision of wage loss to mothers and collective efforts for services like water and sanitation; AWC rent options to be linked to different categories of cities/towns and the rent approved under ICDS restructuring and strengthening under 12th Five-Year Plan should be strictly adhered to; ensure quality of service delivery to urban poor settlements and pockets with focus on highly vulnerable settlements.’ Increased involvement of community in managing and organising AWC activities in urban settings; need for proper capacity building and skill development of ICDS staffs in the context of urban challenges; need for convergence and coordination and multi-sectoral partnership and need for co-micro planning with multisectoral agencies viz. MoHUPA to improve AWC infrastructure; with MoHFW to improve outreach points, mobile service teams, helplines and referral linkage; with community based organisations to improve household counselling and community mobilisation; with NGO partners to manage urban ICDS particularly delivery of supplementary nutrition and Early Child Education; with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) to implement and monitor ICDS projects. Need for private sectors participation and leverage of CSR funds for strengthening of the ICDS in urban areas. Further, there is need for the growth-monitoring activities at AWCs to be performed with greater regularity with an emphasis on using this process to help parents understand how to improve their children’s health and nutrition and at the same time the monitoring and evaluation activities need strengthening through the collection of timely, relevant, accessible, high-quality information to inform decision, improve performance, quality and increase accountability. Addressing the health and nutrition of urban poor children is both a right and an equity issue. In terms of long-term planning, there is an opportunity for policy makers to identify and explore for various localised models and workable solution along with existing best practices keeping in view the strengths of their reliability, which can support urban ICDS programme in effective and meaningful ways. There is pressing need to design and initiate urban pilot interventions aimed at improving the availability, accessibility and quality of child development services to effectively address the nutritional and health concerns in urban setting of the urban poor population.

As Per Census 2011

Slum : Slum is defined, as a residential area where dwellings are unfit for human habitation by reasons of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangements and design of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of street, lack of ventilation, light, or sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors which are detrimental to the safety and health. For the purpose of Census, slums have been categorised and defined as of the following three types: Notified Slums; Recognised Slums; Identified Slums.

Statutory Town: All places with a Municipality, Corporation, Cantonment board or Notified town area committee, etc. (known as Statutory Town); Census Town: Places other than the Statutory Town, which satisfied the following criteria (known as Census Town): A minimum population of 5,000; At least 75 per cent of the male main workers engaged in nonagricultural pursuits; and a density of population of at least 400 per sq. km

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