Women in Service Sectors; Anganwadi Workers (ICDS-Programme)A Sociological study in Madhugiri Taluk, Thumakur Dist.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme today is the world’s largest Programme aimed at enhancing the health, nutrition and learning opportunities of infants, young children (0-6 years) and their mothers. This paper explores the socio-economic status, problems and challenges of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) in ICDS Programes and to assess knowledge of AWWs & problems traced by them while working in the study area of Madhugiri taluk of Tumkur district in the state of Karnataka. The knowledge increases with experience as an AWW, but has no relation with their educational qualification. Problems felt by them were mainly due to inadequate honorarium and excess work load. So, timely increments in honorarium should be considered.Anganwadi workers have been subjected to triple suppression: that of caste, gender and class and more often are the victims of violence. To aggravate this situation most of the crimes like physical abuse, financial fraud discrimination at work and home goes to unreported. In announcing the 2008-2009 Budget, Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram stated that salaries would be increased for Anganwadi workers to Rs 1500 per month and helpers to Rs 750 per month. In March 2008 there is debate about whether packaged foods, such as biscuits, should become part of the food served. Detractors, including Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, disagreed saying it will become the only food consumed by the children. Options for increasing partnership with the private sector are continuing. Within one month Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch smart card called UWIN (Unorganised Workers’ Identification Number) card. We had sought time from the Prime Minister for launching it for over 40 crore workers in the country.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme today is the world’s largest Programme aimed at enhancing the health, nutrition and learning opportunities of infants, young children (0-6 years) and their mothers. It is the foremost symbol of India’s commitment to its children – India’s response to the challenge of providing pre-school education on one hand, and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, mortality, and morbidity, on the other. The Scheme provides an integrated approach for converging basic services through community-based honorary workers, viz. anganwadi workers and helpers. It is a centrally sponsored scheme, implemented through the state governments, with 100 per cent financial assistance from the central government for all inputs, other than supplementary nutrition, which the States were to provide from their own resources. However, from the year 2005-06, the Government of India has decided to provide central assistance to states for supplementary nutrition also to the extent of 50% of the actual expenditure incurred by states, or 50% of the cost norms, whichever is less.
The Government’s emphasis has been on integrated and holistic development of children, as far as the two basic elements of human resource development, i.e. health and education, are concerned. As development has several inter-related dimensions– physical, cognitive, social, emotional and psychological, therefore, a synergistic approach to the implementation of the scheme becomes inevitable. Needless to say, learning occurs in all these areas and influences others, all of which develop simultaneously. The scheme, therefore, envisages inter-sectoral convergence of various services, viz. nutrition, health and education through the anganwadi centres. The services are delivered through different departments converging at the anganwadi centre. The Departments include health, rural development, drinking water supply, panchayat raj Institutions etc. These works are in synchronization with each other. (Thakare Meenal M; Kurl BM)
Seema.T.N (2001) the concept of ICDS is providing a package of services is based primarily on the consideration that the overall impact will be much larger if the different services develop in an integrated manner as the efficacy of a particular service depends upon the support it receives from related services. ICDS has attempted to gear up to the popular holistic vision of a comprehensive intervention programme with a child-centered approach respecting all cultural patterns and diversity, and served as an instrument of change to bridge social inequalities in the society.
The word Anganwadi means “courtyard shelter” in Hindi. They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. A typical Anganwadi centre also provides basic health care in Indian villages. It is a part of the Indian public health-care system. Basic health-care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities. The centers may also be used as depots for oral rehydration salts, basic medicines and contraceptives. As many as 13.3 lakh Anganwadi and mini-Anganwadi centres (AWCs/ mini-AWCs) are operational out of 13.7 lakh sanctioned AWCs/ mini-AWCs, as on 31.01.2013. These centers provide supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education, nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services of which later three services are provided in convergence with public health systems.
Karnataka-The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme was started in Karnataka on 2nd October 1975 with a pilot project at T. Narasipura in Mysore District with just 100 Anganwadi Centres. Since then, the programme has expanded to all the revenue taluks in the state. The welfare of pregnant women, nursing mothers, adolescent girls and children below 6 years have acquired a prime place in the programme. At present 61187 AWCs and 3331 mini anganwadi centers are functioning in 204 ICDS projects in the State, covering all the 175 taluks (181 rural projects & 12 tribal & 11 urban projects). During 2012-13, 55.07 lakh beneficiaries’ availed benefits under the scheme. Though the programme have an elaborate administrative network, the AWC remains the focal point of the delivery of package of services and an Anganwadi worker is the kingpin of the programme. The success of the programme is largely dependent on the efficiency of the Anganawadi Workers.
The ICDS Scheme is implemented through a platform of Anganwadi Centre (AWC), at village/habitation level. Government of India has cumulatively approved 14 lakh AWCs/Mini-AWCs, including 20,000 Anganwadis on demand .The population norms for setting up of an AWC given by the Ministry of Women and Child Development is as under: - “Anganwadi Centres(AWCs) For Rural/Urban Projects Population
1) 400-800 population - 1 Awc. 2) 800-1600 population 2 Awcs 3) 1600-2400 population-3 Awcs: Thereafter in multiples of 800 for one AWC. Mini AWC 150-400 population - 1 Mini AWC:
For Tribal Projects; Population-300-800 - 1 AWC: 150-300 - 1 Mini AWC:
Mini-AWCs are sanctioned for small hamlets/habitations having less population and accordingly lesser number of children (about 20-25).”
Anganwadi Worker Each Anganwadi Centre is managed by one Anganwadi Worker and one Helper, who are the grass roots functionaries to implement the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme. Each mini-AWC has one AWW only. These workers and helpers are envisaged as honorary workers from the local community who come forward to render their services, on part-time basis on an average 4-5 hours a day in the area of child care and development.
As per the ICDS guidelines, supervisors have to supervise the work of anganwadi workers. She should be a lady officer and a graduate, preferably in social work, home science or related fields. She should have the aptitude to work in rural, tribal or urban slum areas and should possess capabilities and skills to supervise the work of the grass-root level field staff. The Supervisors are taken in the pay scale of Mukhyasevikas in the States. Under the ICDS, scheme they are borne on state cadre and their recruitment, pay scales and other service conditions are governed by the State Government rules which vary from state to state.
Role and responsibilities of Anganwadi Workers
The role and responsibilities of AWWs and helpers envisaged under the ICDS scheme is as under:-
Role conflict of Anganawadi workers
R K Merton (1967)-Role conflict refers to the conflict experienced by the individual at the time of role playing. This may be experienced by the individual at two levels within his own body of roles, and between his own roles and those of other actors. An individual may experience if there is discrepancy between his perception of his role and his perception of his actual role behavior
Henley (1979)-As women increasingly gain occupational mobility, they are not only exposed to the same physical hazards of work environment as men but also exposed to the pressures created by multiple role demands and conflicting expectations. By fulfilling their economic needs, employment has no doubt made women independent with an identifiable social status but it has also made them to juggle into two main domains of life- work and family. They have stepped into work place but the role responsibilities of women still remain the same, i.e women may be a top executive, still the “nurturing” or “care giving” roles are considered much a part of feminine roles
R. Shashidhar (2012) has shown that the twin roles of women cause tension and conflict due to her social structure which is still more dominant. In his study on working women in Delhi, she has shown that traditional authoritarian setup of Hindu social structure continues to be the same basically and hence, women face problem of role conflict change in attitudes of men and women according to the situation can help to overcome their problem.
Ministry Women and Child Development (GOI) ; When asked to clarify as to whether it is possible for an Anganwadi worker to perform all the 21 prescribed functions within a time span of 4-5 hours, and written reply stated as under:
Delineated responsibilities are not performed concurrently on a daily basis. There are certain functions which are performed once a week, while some are carried out once in a month; e.g weighing of children, sharing information on the no. of birth during the month. Further, immunization and survey of mothers & children are performed once a year.”
However, the Committee during their interactions with the Anganwadi workers and helpers of various states have learnt that there is huge workload on them. Every single rural based programme today in the country is put on the fragile shoulders of the Anganwadi workers. They are actually made to take up a lot of tasks beyond the actual mandate of ICDS.
Material and Methods;
The study was undertaken to:
1. Assess the socio-economic status of AWWs;
2. Identify the problems faced by them.
Study Area: Tumkur District is one of the 30 administrative districts of Karnataka state, located in the North-west of Bangalore at a distance of about 70 kms. The district is bounded by Mandya District in the South; Chitradurga and Hassan districts in the West; Chikkamangalore in the Northeast and Ananthapura District of Andra Pradesh state in the Southeast direction. The total geographic of Tumkur district is an area of 10,596 sq.kms. As per 2001 census the district has a total population of 2.5 million, comprising 1.3 million of male and 1.2 million of female population. The major sources of employment are agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry, which engage almost 80 percent of the workforce (further detail please refer table-1)
Madhugiri is a Taluk headquarters of Tumkur district in the state of Karnataka. The taluk is bounded on the east and the north by Ananthapura district of Andhra Pradesh; on the west by Sira taluk, on the south by Koratagere taluk, and on the south and east by Gowribidanur of Kolar district. The taluk extends over an area of 1118.4 sq kms. According to 2001 census Madhugiri taluk has the total population of 2.6 million, however, majority of the population residing in rural area ( 90 per cent) as compared to the urban, the total literacy rate was 61.02 per cent, however, urban literacy has higher than the rural literacy. About 47.6 per cent population was main workers and marginal workers proportion is about 14.8 per cent (see table 2)
The present study was carried out at the Rural Integrated Childhood Development Services Scheme (ICDS) block of Madhugiri taluk from June-July 2013. ICDS projects of Madhugiri started in the year 1985-86. It consists of Child Development Project Officer, two Mukhya Sevikas, four Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and Anganwadi centres (AWCs). There are 4081 total numbers of Anaganwadi centre in the district out of this 430 are situated in study area (Madhugiri) For each centre one AWC Anganwadi worker and one helper are working. The total number of sanctioned anganwadi centers in the district are 3561, mini AWCs are 519, however, ICDS Anganwadi centre first started in Pavagada taluk in the year 1978-79, the majority of (454)AWCs are working in Tumkur Rural and large number of mini AWCs are in Gubbi taluk (see table 3)
Out of the 370 AWCs, 60 mini AWCs Anganawadi worker (AWW) and helper are working in the study area. For the operational aspect of the project, the taluk is geographically divided into four sectors i.e. sectors A, B, C and D. The Anganwadi centres had been numbered from 1 to 430 each sector on an average consisted of 107 Anganwadi centres. Sector A covers Kasaba Hobli, Sector B covers Kodigenahalli Hobli, Sector C Medigeshi hobli and sector D Dodderi hobli of Madhugiri taluk in Tumkur dist.
Sample: -AWWs were selected by stratified sampling technique. From each sector, 20%AWWs were enrolled into study. For sector A & D, 20% relates to 6.4AWWs. So for these sectors the number of AWWs was rounded up to 7. AWWs were selected randomly from each sector (A, B, C, D) using lottery system.
The working time of AWCs is from 10 AM-1 PM daily except in summer when the timing is 9 AM-12 noon. The Anganwadi centres were visited by the investigator on Mondays and Thursdays during this period. AWCs where workers were not available at first visit due to any reason were revisited. The profile and knowledge of AWWs was assessed by interviewing Anganwadi workers on basis of a pretested proforma. For knowing their profile, basic information about the worker was collected in terms of her name, age, education and experience as Anganwadi workers.
Most of the AWWs in Rural ICDS Block, Madhugiri were from age group 20-50 yrs, matriculate, experienced, having knowledge of more than 50% in their daily functions at AWCs. The knowledge increases with experience as an AWW, but has no relation with their educational qualification. Problems felt by them were mainly due to inadequate honorarium and excess work load. So, timely increments in honorarium should be considered.
Anganwadi workers have been subjected to triple suppression: that of caste, gender and class and more often are the victims of violence. To aggravate this situation most of the crimes like physical abuse, financial fraud discrimination at work and home goes unreported.
The workers do not have permanent jobs with comprehensive retirement benefits like other government staff. Worker protests (by the All India Anganwadi Workers Federation) and public debates on this topic are ongoing. There are periodic reports of corruption and crimes against women in some Anganwadi centers. There are legal and societal issues when Anganwadi-serviced children fall sick or die.
Removal of discriminatory legislations: the family, civil and penal codes are still not fully gender sensitive, legislative and regulatory gaps persist, perpetuating due jure as well as de facto inequality and discrimination. Women have insufficient access to the law, due to lack of legal literacy and resources, insensitivity and gender bias of law enforcement official and the judiciary, and the persistence of traditional and stereotypical attitudes.
In announcing the 2008-2009 Budget, Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram stated that salaries would be increased for Anganwadi workers to Rs 1500 per month and helpers to Rs 750 per month. In March 2008 there is debate about whether packaged foods, such as biscuits, should become part of the food served. Detractors, including Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, disagreed saying it will become the only food consumed by the children. Options for increasing partnership with the private sector are continuing.
Within one month Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch smart card called UWIN (Unorganised Workers’ Identification Number) card. We had sought time from the PrimeMinister for launching it for over 40 crore workers in the country,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters at launch of Global Network Operations Centre (g-NOC) of EPFO here. The minister said that through the UWIN card, government wants to provide social security to all those people who are not covered either by Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) or Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).He said that the UWIN card will be a chip-based instrument to provide benefit to these workers and their family under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), Atal Pension Yojana, Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY), Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.The minister cited that the entire task of issuing smart cards to all informal sector workers would take at least two years time and government will issue 10 crore such cards in the first phase. Asked about Centre’s plan to invest funds lying in dormant EPF accounts, the minister said, “We are custodian of the workers’ money. The worker can come and claim his or her funds.”
The Union ministry of health & family welfare has now announced the pan-India roll out of National Deworming Day on February 10, 2016 to deworm all children at risk of worm infection. Launched in 2015, National Deworming Day 2016 is the largest single-day, school-based deworming effort in the world.
Dr. Dodda Hanumaiah B.H.
Assistant Professor & Head, Dept. of Sociology,
Govt. First Grade College, Hosakote, Bangalore Rural District
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