Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Plea For Reopening Anganwadi Centres In India
The Supreme Court stands in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Plea For Reopening Anganwadi Centres In India

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The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear a plea which has sought directions to the Centre, all states and Union Territories to forthwith re-open all Anganwadi centres in the country which were closed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The apex court issued notices to the Centre, states and union territories and sought their responses on the plea which has claimed that functioning of all Anganwadi centres in the country came to a sudden halt and poor pregnant and lactating women and children were left in the lurch.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Maharashtra-based Dipika Jagatram Sahani who has sought a direction to the Centre, all states and UTs to conduct growth monitoring of children to document the growth in the wake of the after-effects of the pandemic more particularly malnourishment among children and anaemia in girl children and initiate corrective steps forthwith.

The petition has said that the Centre, states and UTs should forthwith re-open all Anganwadi centres and provide Angangwadi services in accordance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

This public interest petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, relates to the closure of the integrated child development services all across the country, which provided supplementary nutrition to pregnant women, lactating mothers, adolescent girls and children up to the age of 6 years, it said.

The Anganwadi centres which were running under this scheme for decades were closed down using Covid as an excuse, it claimed, adding; as a result, the most vulnerable sections of the Indian population suffered malnutrition nation-wide. This petition seeks the re-starting of the Anganwadi centres immediately.

It has also sought a direction to the Centre, states and UTs to provide hot cooked meals, take home rations in consonance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 as well as The Supplementary Nutrition Rules, 2020.

It said the authorities should also be directed to make provisions for additional supplementary nutrition provisions to all beneficiaries of the ICDS scheme in the form of a comprehensive package of cooked food, eggs, fruits, dry rations including cereals and pulses etc.

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