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New Delhi: A national conference of state Principal Secretaries/Secretaries in charge of Women and Child Development (WCD) was held in New Delhi on Wednesday. The meeting was called by the Union Ministry for  Women and Child Development to review Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as well as other schemes including those related to women, child care and child protection. Representatives of Women and Child Development departments of 29 States/UTs attended the meeting.
Addressing the participants, the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi said  the ministry is undertaking a complete revamp of the ICDS Programme as the level of malnutrition in the country continues to be high. The ministry is working in a convergence mode with NITI Ayog, ministries of Health and Education and other stakeholders to deal with the problem of malnutrition on  war footing, the minister added.  She said that the digitization of anganwadis is being taken up and both hardware as well as software is being provided for real time monitoring of every child and every pregnant and lactating mother. The anganwadi workers will be given smartphones and the supervisors will be given tablets for which the state government should provide training to anganwadi workers to help shift to the new IT-based system.
Maneka Gandhi said that PM Narendra Modi has given utmost priority to Beti Bacho Beti Padhao and Nutrition programme which are to be implemented in mission mode. The Beti Bacho Beti Padhao scheme has shown tremendous success due to active involvement of states, she said and urged the states to exhibit the same for ICDS.
The WCD Minister issued strict instructions to the states to comply with the directives of the WCD ministry pertaining to clean food. “We are also looking at further standardizing the supplementary nutrition so that hygienic, nutritious and locally acceptable food is given to the children and mothers through a standardized process of manufacturing and distribution. This is warranted as the current systems of adhoc procurement and preparation have not succeeded in reducing malnutrition,” the minister explained.

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