Meghalaya: CM Sangma increases honorarium for Anganwadi workers
CM Conrad Sangma at the convention

Shillong: With an aim to appreciate the efforts of the Anganwadi workers, Village Health Councils (VHCs) and Village Organizations (VOs- SHG Federations at village level) in providing basic education, nutrition, and health facilities, a state convention of frontliners was held on Monday at the SICPAC Multipurpose Hall, Mawkiasiang, Shillong.

Every month, through this robust frontline network, the growth of about 5,00,000 children between the ages 0 to 5 years is being monitored, achieving 85 to 90% weighing efficiency of children in Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) and villages across Meghalaya.

The CM-CAREs (Comfort, Assist, Respect, Empowerment) scheme was also launched at the event. Through this scheme, social security through financial assistance to senior citizens, single mothers belonging to households with incomes less than Rs 36,000 per year and all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) will be provided. Through CM CAREs, the financial benefit of erstwhile CM’s Social Assistance Scheme has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 750 per month w.e.f. October 2022. Currently, 65,777 senior citizens, 36,222 single mothers and 14,227 PWDs are CM-CAREs present beneficiaries.

State awards to two districts and twelve awards – one from each district were presented at the event. Two districts from Meghalaya, South West Garo Hills District and Ri Bhoi Districts, were awarded the ‘Best Districts for Commendable Efforts in reducing SAM & MAM among children in their respective districts. The AWWs as well as representatives from the VOs and VHCs also received awards for their commendable work in reducing SAM & MAM among children through collaborative efforts in the field. In addition to the 14 awardees, recognition was also conferred to the 111 AWCs, VOs and VHCs post the inaugural session.

IAS Sampath Kumar

Recognizing the role of Anganwadi Workers and Village Organizations as the agents of social change in the state’s effort towards a ‘Malnutrition Free Meghalaya’, Chief Minister also announced the enhancement of honorarium to AWW Workers by Rs 1,500, Mini AWW by Rs 750 & Helper by Rs 500 w.e.f  October 1, 2022.

While appreciating and acknowledging the tireless efforts of the frontline functionaries, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma expressed his gratitude and said that the goal of improving health and nutritional indicators has always been a priority area for the government.

“The Government is working with concerted efforts to improve the overall human development goals in the state, he said.

 Addressing the frontline workers, the CM added, “Today the model that we follow is being recognized at the highest level in the country and you have set a benchmark for other States to follow.” The Chief Minister, while expressing happiness at the enhancement of honorarium for the AWW and AWW Helpers, said, “The enhancement of the honorarium is a small token of appreciation for your selfless and dedicated service and to assure you of our support in your work.”

He also informed that all Anganwadi centres will be transformed into Early Childhood Development Centers with better structures, infrastructures, and methodology involving parents by giving them training and necessary support.

Addressing the gathering as the Guest of honour, Social Welfare Minister, Kyrmen Shylla informed that this year the Ministry of Women and Child Development has renamed Anganwadi services as Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0. He said that this step is crucial for India’s development, as women and children comprise over two-thirds of India’s population so the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals lies at the forefront of this. He said that the CM’s-Care scheme launched during the event will focus on the fundamental importance of nutrition and early childhood care and education for the well-being, growth and development of children into healthy and productive adults. He appreciated and acknowledged the role of the frontline functionaries and stated that their role in achieving the state’s goals is crucial. He added,  “The state is committed to working for the improvement of nutritional indicators. For this, a convergence approach is being implemented to bring various departments together and work towards a common goal.’’

The Principal Secretary of the Social Welfare Department, Sampath Kumar, IAS, expressed his gratitude to the frontline workers for their tireless services and said that Meghalaya has faced challenges in terms of improving the health and nutritional status of its women and children. “However, due to the collaborative efforts of the field-level functionaries and the various departments, for the first time in 2020, Meghalaya ranked 2nd in the country in full child immunization coverage. This could be achieved because the default explanation for not being able to take immunization to the last mile was challenged. For instance, the FLWs came up with a unique solution of taking immunization closer to the people by conducting immunization sessions at a time when they would be free,” he said.

Due to the systemic interventions aimed at improving state capability to improve health indicators, between 2020 to 2021, for the first time, Meghalaya recorded 93 per cent recovery of SAM and 97 per cent recovery of MAM children.

“Through the tireless and collaborative efforts of the Frontline workers, the state has been able to implement the strategies laid down for achieving the objective of making Meghalaya a malnutrition-free state”, he added.

The event witnessed the attendance of Anganwadi workers, ANMs, ASHAs, Village Organizations and Village Health Councils (VHCs) from across the State. About 2 lakh Anganwadi workers and self-help group members also participated in the event virtually.  

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