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What is our grievance?

During the first Aam Sabha organized by Seva Setu on August 4, 2013 at Ismailpur village (Pulwari Sharif, Patna), one of the several issues raised by women from the village concerned the Supplementary Nutrition Programme for pregnant women and lactating mothers under the ICDS scheme. Women of Chhoti Ismailpur complained that they have never been given any supplementary nutrition at their Anganwadi centre (centre no. 84 located in the area). When enquired, the Anganwadi Sevika said that it was so because the allocation of supplementary nutrition made to this Angwanwadi centre was for only 16 women and most of the times, this was consumed by women from Badi Ismailpur only (which is nearer to the Anganwadi centre as compared to Chhoti Ismailpur). In the last 1.5 months we have made over 20 field visits and the same grievance has been raised by the women of Chhoti Ismailpur in almost all our field interactions. What have we found so far? We have probed the issue a little further and found that, apparently, there is a norm in the state of Bihar whereby 16 pregnant women and/or lactating mothers are supposed to get supplementary nutrition at every Anganwadi centre. But, we are not sure if it is a fixed number which cant be increased/decreased on a case-by-case basis or if it is more of a flexible norm/guideline. However, there is no such norm prescribed/imposed by the Central Government. Further, as per the latest report (report for August attached) uploaded on the website of B ihars Social Welfare Department, Anganwadi centre no. 84 (for Ismailpur) caters to a population of around 1400 (around 625 women) whereas the nearby AWC no. 83 (for Alipur) caters to a population of around 761 (around 339 women). However, both of them provide supplementary nutrition to the same number of pregnant women and lactating mothers i.e. 16. It is quite unreasonable to impose the same limit of 16 on both AWCs when the population one caters to is nearly double the other. What support do we seek from you? In view of the above-mentioned facts, Seva Setu would like to humbly submit the following suggestions on behalf of the women of Chhoti Ismailpur: 1. If possible, a separate AWC (separate from Badi Ismailpur) or at least a mini-AWC should be setup for Chhoti Ismailpur. 2. If it is not immediately feasible to start a new AWC(or mini-AWC) there, the aforementioned limit of 16 should at least be doubled. 3. Also, the criteria for selecting these few women (which is 16 currently) out of all pregnant women and lactating mothers in the village should be clearly displayed in the AWC and it should be communicated to these women by the Anganwadi Sevika. We request you to kindly look into the issue and do the needful. With hope and gratitude, Team Seva Setu