People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 46

November 18, 2012





Resist  Moves  to Dismantle ICDS


The All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) has issued the following statement on November 7


THE All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) strongly condemns the move to weaken and dismantle the ICDS by backdoor privatisation and calls upon the anganwadi workers and people to resist such moves.


Government of India signed an agreement with the World Bank for a loan of Rs 583 crs (106 million US dollars) to be paid over a period of three years for the programme to be implemented in 162 high malnutrition-burden districts in eight high-burden states.


Given the fact that as against Rs 15,850 crs budgetary allocation for the ICDS for 2012-13, it is highly suspicious as to why the government is taking such a small loan from World Bank that too to be paid over three years.


The proposed loan is in continuation of earlier World Bank sponsored ICDS Project IV pilot project whose guiding principles were for developing ‘revised implementation framework for ICDS’ aiming to involve Panchayati Raj institutions, NGOs/CBOs (community based organisations) and the private sector in the functioning of the ICDS. The World Bank loan and project is aimed at backdoor privatisation of the ICDS and to get rid of government’s responsibility.


In many states, either the entire scheme or some of the services are already handed over to big corporate houses like Vedanta or corporate NGOS like Naandi Foundation, ISKCON etc. They are setting up huge centralised kitchens which can cook one or two lakh meals at a time, which is against the very concept of the scheme to provide freshly cooked locally available food. In some states, anganwadi workers are asked to collect user fees from beneficiaries and in some states only ten month’s supplementary nutrition is provided and the anganwadi workers are made responsible for organising it for the rest two months.


The scam, unearthed this week in Maharashtra involving Rs 1000 crs, is a shocking revelation that the huge amounts meant to provide bare minimum nutrition to the largest contingent of malnourished children in the world has gone to handful big companies.


Taking together the facts that many multinational food companies are taking keen interest in providing fortified food and ready-to-eat-food in ICDS and the recent scam, it is evident that taking loan for a paltry amount is intended to hand over the scheme to the private companies as a money making business.


Despite repeated demand by the federations of anganwadi workers of the central trade unions, the government neither is ready to discuss with the unions the changes it is proposing to make in the scheme; nor it has taken into account the opinions of the organisations of beneficiaries like that of women, peasants and agricultural workers. Instead, in the name of discussion with the ‘stake holders’, the government is holding discussion with NGOs and agencies like CARE and USAID.


AIFAWH demands that –

·                    The Government should take full responsibility of running this most needed scheme;

·                     Make allocations for ICDS for proper infrastructure; and

·                     Must hold discussion with the trade union federations of anganwadi employees before making any change in the ICDS.

·                    AIFAWH calls upon the anganwadi workers and helpers of the country to resist any move to weaken and privatise the ICDS and to mobilise the beneficiaries against any such move.