12th February 2011
Shri Pranab Mukherjee
Hon’ble Finance Minister
Government of India
134 North Block
New Delhi 110001
Sub: Adequate Financial Allocation to ICDS in Union Budget 2011-12
As you are aware, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a flagship programme of the Government of India plays a very important role in the development of children below 6 years, the future human resources of our country. However, the financial allocations made to ICDS have not been adequate to ensure its effective implementation so as to realise the full potential of ICDS in improving the conditions of our children.
In view of the wide prevalence of malnutrition among the children in our country, it is necessary to take urgent measures to ensure effective implementation of ICDS in letter and spirit. This will be possible by improving the infrastructure at the anganwadi centres, regular supply of good quality supplementary nutrition in the required quantities, pre school education kits and medical kits and improving the working conditions of the anganwadi workers and helpers, who are the key functionaries of ICDS at the grass root level. This requires increase in the allocation of financial resources by the Government.
Though anganwadi centres have been sanctioned to meet the number specified by the Supreme Court, the condition of most of these centres is poor. A large number of anganwadi centres do not have proper infrastructural facilities including pucca building, drinking water, toilet facilities, space for storage and for the children to take rest and play. In many centres supplementary nutrition is not regular and adequate. Pre school education kits have not been supplied to many centres.
The anganwadi workers and helpers who are the key functionaries of ICDS at the grass root level are not recognised as government employees even after working for more than 30 – 35 years. They are not paid minimum wages nor do they get any social security benefits. While the prices of all the essential commodities have increased many times in the last two years, with the food inflation crossing 18 percent, the remuneration of the anganwadi workers and helpers has not been increased after 2008. They do not receive any Dearness Allowance to even partly compensate the rising prices.
The revised plan outlay for ICDS in the 11th Five Year Plan was Rs. 72, 877.52 crores. However, the budgetary allocations for the four years of the 11th Plan period, including in the last Budget, have been only Rs 26,998 crores, which is only around one third of the requirement.
We request you to allocate at least Rs 25000 crores in the ensuing Budget, the last one in the 11th Plan, to provide for increase in the remuneration of anganwadi workers and helpers, to provide gratuity and pension equivalent to half their last drawn remuneration and to improve the infrastructure in the anganwadi centres.
AITUC CITU HMS INTUC