New Delhi: The Minister of Women & Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi gave away National Level Awards to anganwadi workers to recognize their exemplary voluntary service in the field of child development and related areas under the ICDS Scheme, at New Delhi today. The Awards for the year 2016-17 were given to 51 awardees today. These awards are given annually.
Speaking on the occasion, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi congratulated the awardees and urged them to keep up their dedication to the cause of child development, community mobilization and awareness generation while delivering the ICDS Services. The functionaries anganwadi workers and anganwadi helpers play a pivotal role in child development since the responsibility of taking care of small children has been given to these frontline workers across the country under the ICDS, the Minister explained.
Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that till now, the role of anganwadi workers revolved around mainly distribution and provision of food to children and lactating mothers. However, the Government is now shifting the emphasis to covert anganwadis into centres of pre-school education. As a result, a massive exercise is being launched to train the anganwadi workers to become pre-school teachers, the WCD Minister disclosed. There are currently about 27 lakhs anganwadi workers and helpers at 14 lakhs anganwadi centres across the country.
Earlier addressing the anganwadi workers, Minister of State for Women & Child Development, Smt Krishna Raj said that the anganwadis can contribute to the Swachh Bharat Mission in a big way. This can be done by connecting nutrition to cleanliness i.e. providing nutrition to children and lactating mothers in a clean environment. She urged the awardees to become an example for other functionaries and to motivate them to deliver better quality ICDS Services.
WCD Secretary, Shri Rakesh Srivastav, in his welcome address, said that the WCD Ministry is making all out efforts to improve anganwadi services. Some of the recent initiatives taken up in this regard include pan-India expansion of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, electronic transfer of honorarium of anganwadi workers, guidelines for ECCE, food fortification, e-learning portal of WCD Ministry among many others.
The Award at the National Level comprises a cash prize of Rs.25,000/- and a citation. State Level Award comprises a cash prize of Rs. 5,000/- and a citation. As per guidelines, National Level Awards to AWWs are given to the awardees nominated by States/UTs out of the State/UT level awardees. The number of nominations of AWWs at National Level depends on the size of the State/UT and operational ICDS Projects. The scheme for awarding anganwadi workers at the National and State levels was formulated in the year 2000-01.