The dismal picture of growth is visible when it comes to mother-child malnutrition in Jammu and Kashmir especially at a time when the Union Government is focusing on child-mother care. The Centrally Sponsored Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to some extent has failed to address the growing deficiency in the nutritional status of the children. The scheme was not in a position to help majority of the women to receive ante-natal care services and health education, as only a limited number of women were informed by Anganwadi workers about ante-natal care services, child immunisation, management of diahorrea and methods of family planning. Government failed to create an effective mechanism for keeping a check on the implementation of the scheme. Owing to this, the scheme lost track and did not benefit people of Jammu and Kashmir on the expected lines. ICDS programme was not in a position to achieve its objectives to the desired level. Not only the coverage of the services was low, but the scheme was not in a position to provide Supplementary Nutrition (SN) to beneficiaries throughout the year. Lack of coordination between various departments engaged in implementation of the scheme viz., Health, Rural Development, Education and Social Welfare is another reason why the scheme has failed to take off on the expected lines. Another important reason for the tardy implementation of ICDS was non-availability of adequate supervisory staff. Being scarcity in means because of adequate provisions for procuring the scheme failed to address the need of the children thus hampering their physical and mental growth. It may sound shocking for the hapless and poor parents sending their children to the Anganwadi Centres that their wards are being provided sub-standard nutrition/ food items in majority of such centers across the State. Malnutrition has been the biggest bane of this scheme as the real beneficiaries remain deprived of the benefit with large quantity of diet products finding space in the black market.
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