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Status of Nutrition:

• Total number of ICDS Supplementary Nutrition beneficiaries had been 7.06 crore in 2006-07, 8.43 crore in 2007-08, 8.73 crore in 2008-09, 8.84 crore in 2009-10, 9.59 crore in 2010-11 and 9.72 crore in 2011-12.

• Total number of ICDS Pre-school education beneficiaries had been 3.01 crore in 2006-07, 3.39 crore in 2007-08, 3.41 crore in 2008-09, 3.55 crore in 2009-10, 3.66 crore in 2010-11 and 3.58 crore in 2011-12.

• Total number of malnourished children (Grade I, II, III and IV) exceeded the 40 percent mark in 10 states/ UTs (Andhra Pradesh: 49 percent, Bihar: 82 percent, Haryana: 43 percent, Jharkhand: 40 percent, Odisha: 50 percent, Rajasthan: 43 percent, UP: 41 percent, Delhi: 50 percent, Daman and Diu: 50 percent and Lakshadweep: 40 percent), as on 31 March, 2011.    

• The number of severely malnourished children (Grade III and IV) exceeded 1 percent of total weighed children in 8 states (Bihar: 26 percent, Chhattisgarh: 2 percent, Gujarat: 5 percent, Karnataka: 3 percent, Madhya Pradesh: 2 percent, Maharashtra: 3 percent, Uttarakhand: 1 percent and West Bengal: 4 percent) as on 31 March, 2011.

• There was substantial decrease in the malnourished children in 6 states between 31 March 2007 and 31 March 2011 (Gujarat: from 71 percent to 39 percent, Karnataka: from 53 to 40 percent, Maharashtra: from 45 to 23 percent, UP: from 53 to 41 percent, Uttarakhand: 46 to 25 percent and West Bengal: 53 to 37 percent.

• North-eastern states fared better in respect of the nutritional status of children, where percentage of normal children was satisfactory vis-a-vis the total weighed children as on 31 March 2011 (Arunachal Pradesh: 98 percent, Assam: 69 percent, Manipur: 86 percent, Meghalaya: 71 percent, Mizoran: 77 percent, Nagaland: 92 percent, Sikkim: 89 percent and Tripura: 63 percent).

• In 5 other states/ UTs the percentage of normal children exceeded 70 percent as of 31 March 2011, viz. MP: 72 percent, Maharashtra: 77 percent, Uttarakhand: 75 percent, A & N Islands: 82 percent and Dadra & Nagar Haveli: 75 percent.   
Key findings:

• The CAG chose to audit the ICDS since India's status on key child development and health indicators did not compare well with its own targets as well as with the neighbouring and other regions. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was 48 per 1000 live birth and the Child Mortality Rate (CMR) 63 per 1000 live birth in 2010 as against the targets of 30 and 31 respectively. These indicators (IMR and CMR) for the neighbouring countries were: China (IMR: 16, CMR: 18) and Sri Lanka (IMR: 14, CMR: 17). In industrialized countries, the IMR and CMR were as low as 5 and 6 respectively.

• The performance audit covered 2730 of the test checked Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) from 273 project offices of 67 districts from 13 states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) for the period 2006-07 to 2010-11 on 3 services viz. supplementary nutrition, pre-school education and nutrition and health education under scheme. The selection of the states was made on the basis of population, funding and nutrition indicators as per the NFHS-3, 2005.

• To universalize the ICDS, Hon'ble Supreme Court had directed the Central and state Governments to operationalize 14 lakh AWCs by December, 2008. The Ministry sanctioned 13.71 lakh AWCs and could operationalize 13.17 lakh. This left a shortfall of 0.54 lakh. Similarly, out of 7075 sanctioned ICDS projects, 7005 projects were operationalized.

• 61 percent of the test-checked AWCs did not have their own buildings and 25 percent were functioning from semi-pucca/ kachcha buildings or open/ partially covered space. Separate space for cooking, storing food items and indoor and outdoor activities for children was not available in 40 to 65 percent of the test-checked AWCs.

• Poor hygiene and sanitation were noticed in the AWCs due to the absence of toilets in 52 percent of the test checked AWCs and non-availability of drinking water facility for 32 percent of the test checked AWCs.

• Functional weighing machines for babies and adults were not available in 26 and 58 percent, respectively, of the test-checked AWCs. The essential utensils required for providing supplementary nutrition to the beneficiaries were also not available in several test-checked AWCs.

• Medicine kits were not available in 33 to 49 percent of the test checked AWCs due to failure of the state governments in spending the funds released to them by the Centre.    

• 53 percent of the test checked AWCs did not receive annual flexi-fund of Rs. 1000 from the state governments during the period 2009-2011.

• There were shortages of staff and key functionaries at all levels.

• The shortfall under various categories of training ranged from 19 to 58 percent of the targets fixed under the State Training Action Plan (STRAP).

• The shortfall in expenditure on Supplementary Nutrition (SN) ranged between 15 percent and 36 percent of the requirements during the period 2006-2011. The average daily expenditure per beneficiary on SN was Rs. 1.52 to Rs. 2.01 against the norm of Rs. 2.06 during 2006-09 and Rs. 3.08 to Rs. 3.64 against the norm of Rs. 4.21 during 2009-2011.

• 33 to 47 percent children were not weighed for monitoring their growth during 2006-07 to 2010-11. The data on nutritional status of children had discrepancies and were not based on WHO's growth standards.

• There was a gap of 33 to 45 percent between the number of eligible beneficiaries identified and those receiving the SN during 2006-07 to 2010-11.

• The Wheat Based Nutrition Programme suffered from lack of proper coordination among the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Department of Food and Public Distribution and the state governments. The Ministry could allocate 78 percent of foodgrains demanded by the states. The actual take-offs by the states was merely 66 percent of total demand placed by them.

• Pre-school education (PSE) kits were not available at 41 to 51 percent of the test-checked AWCs during the period 2006-11.

• In 6 of the test checked states (Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) data on beneficiaries of PSE who joined mainstream education were not available. In 5 states (Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Karnataka) shortfall in the number of children who actually joined the formal education during 2006-2011 ranged between 7 and 30 percent.      

• Shortfall of 40 to 100 percent was noted on the expenditure against the funds released for Information, Education and Communication (IEC) in many states.

• Against the total release of Rs. 1753 crore to 13 states during 2008-09 and 15 states during 2009-2011 for meeting the expenditure on salary of ICDS functionaries, the actual expenditure was Rs. 2853 crore indicating unrealistic budgeting and consequent diversion of funds from other critical components of the scheme.

• Rs. 57.82 crore were diverted to activities not permitted under the ICDS in 5 of the test-checked states and Rs. 70.11 crore were parked in civil deposits/ personal ledger accounts/ bank accounts / treasury resulting in blocking of funds.

• The Central Monitoring Unit (CMU) under the ICDS failed to efficiently carry out assigned tasks, which included concurrent evaluation of the scheme, monitoring through the progress reports received from the states.

• Impact assessment of the services under the SN and the PSE based on outcome indicators, such as nutritional status of the children, was not being done.

• The follow-up action on internal monitoring and evaluation by the Ministry was inadequate and resulted in recurrence of shortcomings and lapses in the scheme implementation.    

Rural Expert

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