Choose on reopening Anganwadi Centres outside containment zones prior to Jan 31: SC to states, UTs
By: Express News Service|New Delhi |
January 14, 2021 9: 19: 58 am
Anganwadi centre in Gujarat. (Express Photo Javed Raja)
THE SUPREME COURT on Wednesday asked states and Union Territories who have actually not yet resumed Anganwadi Centres, which were shut due to Covid-19 pandemic, to take a decision to open those centres situated outdoors containment zones on or prior to January 31.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah noted that the Union Ministry for Women and Child Advancement had by its assistance note dated November 11, 2020 “permitted all the States and Union Territories to open Anganwadi Centres” which it is was now “the commitment of the States/Union Territories to take choice for opening” them.
Any decision for not opening the centres will be taken only after the State Disaster Management Authority directs so, it stated, adding that “Anganwadi centres positioned in the containment zone shall not be opened till the containment continues”.
The court said that “it is for the State to protect health to its residents as its main duty” and that “no doubt, the federal government is rendering this obligation through various schemes, such as, opening of Aanganwadis, offering healthy food through Aanganwadis, Mid-day Meal Plan, and so on, but in order to make it meaningful, it needs to be within the reach of its people, as far as possible, and the federal government must supply the healthy food in the genuine sense bearing in mind the provisions of National Food Security Act”.
The court stated that after the November 11 note, some states like Punjab and Rajasthan reopened their Aanganwadi centres, while Arunachal Pradesh chose to open in phases and Assam said that it will reopen when allowed by the Centre, passing the impression that the main government has not approved it.
The states in their affidavits likewise pointed to the “Take Home Ration” being supplied to the recipients.
On Gujarat offering eight 500 gm packets of ‘Balshakti’ to kids under 6 years to match dietary requirements and 1 kg ready-to-eat nutritional traditional sweet (Sukhadi) each week in lieu of hot prepared meals to 3 to 6 years’ kids, the court said it is “of the view that the State ought to have included particular cereals” likewise in the Take Home Provision.
The judgment began a PIL, which questioned the closure of the Angawadi centres.
The bench stated that “children are the next generation and therefore unless and up until the children and the women have healthy food, it will impact the next generation and eventually the country as a whole”.
” It is now statutory commitment of the Centre and the States to offer dietary support to the pregnant ladies and breast feeding mothers, dietary support to children and to take steps to identify and supply meals for children who struggle with poor nutrition. Federal government has a constitutional responsibility to protect human life. Health of its residents is its main responsibility. International covenants also focus on greatest attainable requirements of physical and psychological health. This is in interest of social justice,” the court stated.
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( the headline, this story has not been published by Crucial India News staff and is released from a syndicated feed.).