Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested at least one Anganwadi Centre or Mini-Anganwadi Centre for every village in the tribal areas irrespective of population.
Mr Patnaik made the request to Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi during a meeting at the Odisha Bhavan in New Delhi. Anganwadi is a type of rural mother and child care centre that provides basic healthcare.
He also requested that the approved rate for supplementary nutrition be enhanced and the honorarium of Anganwadi workers and helpers be increased.
Mentioning that 3,385 urban centres in the state do not have pucca buildings of their own, he urged the minister to provide Rs 250 crore for construction of Anganwadi buildings in these centres.
The Chief Minister also said the Central share of funds under the Integrated Child Development Services should be released in time to ensure proper implementation of the scheme.
He underlined the need to create service delivery structures under the District Child Protection Unit at the Gram Panchayat level or at least at the Block level for better implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
He said that donations made to the Juvenile Justice Fund may be exempted from Income Tax to mobilise additional resources and that the Government of India may consider setting up an exclusive Juvenile Justice Academy in the state.
Ms Gandhi, in reply, appreciated the efforts being made by Odisha to improve the nutritional status of pre-school children and pregnant and lactating mothers.
Informing that Uttarakhand has introduced an innovative system by providing a nutritional mix of millets and peanuts in sachets for supplementing the nutritional needs of pre-school children and mothers, she suggested that Odisha may consider adopting a similar feeding system.
The minister also referred to seven One-Stop Centres for women sanctioned for Odisha and said she hoped that these are made operational soon. In case Odisha desires, more of such centres could be sanctioned for the state, she added.
Ms Gandhi assured the Chief Minister that the issues raised by him would receive priority attention of the Union Government and that Central funds under ICDS will be released on time from the current year onwards.