Govt moots PPP for strengthening ICDS

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (UNI) To plug existing gaps in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), the Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed a Public-Private partnership (PPP)-- especially participation of private industry -- to strengthen the scheme.

The partnership being envisaged includes resource mobilisation for construction of anganwadi centres, creating facilities such as child-friendly toilets, kitchen, drinking water, pre-school education kits and regular health check-ups at ICDS health centres.

Addressing a national workshop on Public-Private partnership in the ICDS, Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury said the ICDS, the largest programme in the world for intervention to correct malnutrition, catered to about 60.63 million children through about 900,000 anganwadis. But participation of other stakeholders of the society, especially private industry and investment in children, would provide better human resource to the industry and better citizens to the country.

Ms Chowdhury said ever since the initiation of the ICDS scheme, it was envisaged as a purely governmental programme. However, with the gradual passage of time through field experience, it was felt that the programme could yield much better results if participation of the private sector was also elicited in its implementation.

As of now, the government has only collaborated with a few voluntary organisations and Panchayati Raj Institutions across the country, which has paid rich dividends.

''Taking all these developments into consideration, the government is of the view that the ICDS can be developed as people's programme with the partnership of private sectors, which will be mutually beneficial to all concerned,'' she added.

Listing the areas for Public-Private partnership, the Minister said the private sector could help the government reach remotest areas to create awareness about health and nutrition, provide training to enhance the capacities of ICDS functionaries, making anganwadis more child-friendly, upgrading infrastructure and monitoring the implementation of various ICDS schemes.

The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to explore possible avenues for the PPP in the ICDS.

Besides, representatives of public sector banks, corporate houses, NGOs and international agencies, the states where partnership has already been initiated were also present at the workshop.

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