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Anganwadis For All - A Primer

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Action for the Rights of Children Under Six
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Item Code: UAD587
Publisher: National Book Trust, India
Author: Devika Singh, Jean Dreaze, Nandini Nayak and Vandana Prasad
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788123752334
Pages: 60
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 120 gm
Book Description

In April 2001, the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan submitted a writ petition to the Supreme Court of India seeking enforcement of the right to food. The basic argument is that the right to food is an aspect of the fundamental "right to life" enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. This public interest litigation (PIL) is known as "PUCL vs. Union of India and Others, Writ Petition (Civil) 196 of 2001". The judgement is still awaited, but meanwhile, the Supreme Court has issued a series of "interim orders" aimed at safeguarding various aspects of the right to food.

The first major order, dated 28 November 2001, directed the government to fully implement nine food related schemes as per official guidelines. In effect, this order converted the benefits of these schemes into "legal entitlements". Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), also called "Anganwadi Program" in this booklet, is one of the schemes covered by this Supreme Court order. In the case of ICDS, the order actually went further than just converting existing benefits into legal entitlements: it also directed the government to "universalize" the programme. This means that every hamlet should have a functional Anganwadi, and that the coverage of ICDS should be extended to all children under six and all eligible women.

This order, however, received very little attention for several years. Virtually nothing was done to implement it till April and October 2004, when several hearings on ICDS were held in the Supreme Court and further orders were issued. For instance, the Supreme Court explicitly directed the government to expand the number of Anganwadis from 6 lakhs to 14 lakhs, to ensure that every settlement is covered.

The Supreme Court orders of April and October 2004 gave a useful wake-up call to the government. The universalization of ICDS was included in the National Common Minimum Programme of the UPA government in May 2004. The National Advisory Council submitted detailed recommendations for achieving "universalization with quality" in October 2004. The expenditure of the Central Government on ICDS was nearly doubled in the Union Budget 2005-6. Many state governments also started taking more interest in ICDS.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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