CHANDIGARH: Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary, on Friday, said that the Anganwadi Centres of the state would be transformed phase-wise into model Anganwadi Centers with emphasis on imparting the basic learning skills to the children through learning aids and a colourful ambience that provides the requisite stimulus to tiny tots.
Wall paintings will be made to serve as learning aids and signages will be put up to give a better identity to the AWC as an important village-level institution. The modern equipment and furniture requirements of AWCs are being assessed and a plan is being made for each AWC based on felt needs.
During a meeting with Anganwadi Workers and Helpers at Punjab Bhawan here on strengthening Anganwadi Centers, the Cabinet Minister announced that Anganwadi Centers operating in rented buildings or other places would progressively be transferred into own buildings so that our children can live in a safe and protected atmosphere.
On the issue of early opening of Anganwadi Centers, she said that this is being considered. Anganwadi Centers would soon be reopened for the children after closure due to the pandemic.
Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary said that the lists of the buildings of the Anganwadi Centers, which are about to be repaired have been compiled and the work will be completed soon. “I am keen to make the Anganwadi Centers of the State conform to the highest standard in the country, hence the representatives of the employees and helpers Associations were called today for suggestions”, said the Minister, adding that authorities have been directed to implement the suggestions received today in true spirit. She informed that the department is coordinating with the health department for immunization camps in the Anganwadi Centers so that no child would be deprived of immunization, anaemia prevention and other services.
Mrs Aruna Chaudhary also added that the grassroots services being provided by the frontline Anganwadi team are responsible for creating the base on which many gains were achieved by the State in the realm of health and nutrition with special reference to women, children and adolescents. She spent time listening to suggestions by individual workers and advised her department officers to take up every suggestion in right earnest with a view to improving the range and quality of services being extended to lakhs of beneficiaries in the State.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Raji P. Shrivastava, Principal Secretary Social Security, Women and Child Development lauded the Anganwadi workers for playing an important role as frontline functionaries during the tough times of COVID-19 pandemic, which enabled the state of Punjab to deal with this pandemic better than the other states. “Often the work of Anganwadi workers is silent or not publicised enough but in spite of that the workers and helpers are doing their job honestly and sincerely”, she added.
The representatives thanked the Government for acceding to their long-standing demand for enhancement in honorarium. They said that this will improve the morale and commitment of the grassroots workers. They thanked the Minister for supporting their genuine demands before the Government and appreciated her for giving them a patient hearing at all times.
Director Mr. Vipul Ujjwal informed that a committee has been proposed for better coordination with the Education Department for further implementing the guidelines of 2017, which included that volunteers of the education department would teach Anganwadi Centers children for hours. He said that once the committee would help in the implementation of these guidelines.
During the meeting, Mrs. Usha Rani, All India President of Aanganwadi Mulajim Union Punjab (CITU) suggested to provide learning kits to the Anganwadis at the earliest, saying that sign boards outside Anganwadis should be erected in the villages and the menu received through Anganwadi Centres should be displayed on the walls of these centers.
Mrs. Hargobind Kaur, State President of All Punjab Anganwardi Mulajim Union demanded that immunization camps for children be organized in Anganwadi Centers, besides maintaining better coordination with the health and education departments. Ms. Saroj Chappariwala, State President of All India Anganwadi Workers Helpers Union AITUC demanded the early opening of the Anganwadi Centers.
Prominent amongst others, who were present in the meeting included Joint Director Gurjinder Singh Maur, Deputy Director Rupinder Kaur, Deputy Director Amarjit Singh Kore and District Program Officer Sukhdeep Singh.