Over two lakh posts of Anganwadi staff are lying vacant in the country with Bihar alone accounting for 53,000, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for the Women and Child Development Ministry Virender Kumar also said that the monthly honorarium of the Anganwadi Workers is Rs 3,000, Anganwadi Workers of mini-Anganwadis is Rs 2,250 and Anganwadi helpers is Rs 1,500.
The minister also informed that out of the sanctioned 14 lakh Anganwadi centres to the states and Union territories, 13.63 lakh Anganwadi centres have become operational and 173.35 of pregnant and lactating mothers were receiving supplementary nutrition at the Anganwadi centres. Kumar also said that about 326.91 lakh children from 3 to 6 years of age attended the Anganwadi centres for pre-school non-formal education.
Children in the age group 0-6 years constitute around 158 million of the population of India (2011 census). These Children are the future human resource of the country. Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing various schemes for welfare, development and protection of children. Anganwadis are government-sponsored mother and child care centres.
The word Anganwadi means "courtyard shelter" in Indian languages. They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. ICDS scheme envisages the Anganwadi Workers and Anganwadi Helpers as "honourary workers" from the local community who come forward to render their services on part time basis in the area of child care and development.
They help in providing basic education for under 6 children and enrolling women to undertake antenatal care. They are also responsible for immunization of children and pregnant women. Basic health-care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities. In contrast, ASHA worker or accredited social health activist acts as a medium between the health system and the community.