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In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, most of the Anganwadi Centres, working under the guidance of Development Scheme (ICDS) of the Social Welfare Department, are without nutritional stock. The shortage is due to the ICDS J&K not empowering the Village Level Social Empowerment Committees (VLSECs).
The VLSECs, which were given sanction by the government in November 2016, were supposed to procure supplementary nutrition for the AWCs, evolve and innovate upon recipes to be served at the centres, decide about the mode of providing nutrition, and keep a check on quality of nutrition items served to the children.
The chairperson and three members of the VLSECs were supposed to be appointed from among the prominent citizens of the villages, preferably retired officials.
Two members each from female social workers, mothers, educated youth 25-40 years of age, and representatives of Panchayats and Mohalla committees were also to be included.
At least a girl and a boy from a local school were also to be its members.
Insiders in the Mission Directorate ICDS told The Kashmir Monitor that even as the VLSECs for majority of the AWCs have been constituted, the ICDS J&K has not yet given them the powers yet.
Most of the nutritional stock procured by the ICDS J&K and supplied to the AWCs has been consumed months ago, leaving the centres high and dry, they said.
Officials and the locals from several places in Kashmir also complained of shortage of the nutritional stock at the AWCs.
Admitting that “some of the centres might be short of the nutritional stock”, Mission Director ICDS J&K, G A Sofi, said empowerment of the VLSECs would be done “within a few days”.