The Government of Odisha has given a major thrust to construction of Anganwadi Centres through convergence of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA and Women and Child Department (W & CD) in the State. This strategy led to the building of 232 Anganwadi centers through convergence during 2015-16. In 2016-17, 1,165 Anganwadi centers have been completed through convergence as on 26th October 2016 which makes Odisha stand out as the pioneer in the entire country.
During 2013-14, the approved amount for construction of an Anganwadi Centre (AWC) by the Government of India was 4.5 lakhs per unit, and this was insufficient. Hence, the Government of Odisha decided to increase the estimated cost to 5 Lakhs for each Anganwadi centre, out of which the share of Mahatma Gandhi NREGS was Rs.2.25 lakhs and the share of W&CD Department was
It was difficult to maintain the wage – material ratio of 60:40 at Gram Panchayat level during 2014-15 and 2015-16 period. Hence, to expedite the construction of AWCs as well as to maintain the wage-material ratio, the State Government decided that the Panchayat Samitis (Block Panchayat) will be the implementing agency. Wherever it was not possible to complete the building within the estimated cost of Rs.5 lakhs, it was instructed to book the balance amount under Mahatma Gandhi NREGS.
Currently in FY 2016-17, the unit cost of the AWC is Rs.7 lakhs, out of which, the share of MGNREGS is Rs.5 lakhs while the share of W&CD is Rs.2 lakhs. In the projects taken up during FY 2016-17, the construction of toilets and electrification of the building has been included in the estimate. The model estimate was also communicated to all the districts. Provision of child friendly green fencing was taken up separately through MGNREGA.
The cost of water supply facilities and approach road for each Anganwadi Centre was met from the Central and State Finance Commission funds.
For proper convergence of funds of both the schemes, two separate case records were opened. One case record is for MGNREGS in which the total estimate of the AWC buildings highlighting the activities of works to be carried through the programme were mentioned. In the other case record, the estimate highlighting the W&CD Department activities of work were reflected. Separate cash books are also being maintained.
Capacity building was taken up rigorously. For this purpose, a total of 1,267 Gram Panchayat Technical Assistants (GPTA) engaged under MGNREGS across the state were provided five days residential training at Bhubaneswar during 2015-16 to boost their skills and abilities on model estimations, simplification of measurement process, work planning etc. The outcomes of the training were noticeable in their work progress and quick measurement which ensured timely payment of wages. This strengthens the technical knowledge base of the technical personnel engaged at GP level.
To speed up the whole process and keep a vigilant eye on the progress, a three-tier monitoring mechanism has been adopted; at State Level, District Level, and Block Level.
At the State level, Commissioner-cum-Secretary and Director, Special Projects review the progress of the AWC buildings fortnightly through video conferencing. The same is also being monitored through WhatsApp group created for this purpose. Apart from this, officers of MGNREGS Odisha Society have been specially entrusted under the supervision of Joint Secretary, MGNREGS to monitor the progress on daily basis and report the same to Director, Special projects regularly. The State Level Monitoring team has also provided technical guidance and other necessary tips to field functionaries to complete the project on time without compromising on the quality.
District Level & Block Level: MGNREGS Co-coordinators under the supervision of Project Directors monitor the progress at the District Level. Similarly, the Block Development Officers (BDO) monitor the whole process at the Block Level which is the primary implementing agency.
Due to the special initiatives of the State, 232 AWC buildings were completed during 2015-16 and 1,165 numbers of AWC building were completed until 26th October 2016. This initiative ensures a pucca building for AWCs which earlier used to function out of incomplete buildings or open space. This has also resulted in increased attendance of children in AWCs. More families are now keen to send their children to AWC, which can be seen as the first step towards educating their child.