A division bench of the High Court on Monday ordered issuance of a notice to the state government to file a counter affidavit on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court.
The bench, comprising chief justice PC Ghose and justice Vilas V Afzulpurkar, was dealing with the PIL filed by Rama Melkote, a retired professor of Osmania University, and three others seeking a direction to the authorities concerned to redesign the ICDS to make it more effective. After ordering issuance of notices, the bench adjourned the hearing by two weeks.
The petitioners wanted immediate stoppage of centralised supply of pre-cooked food in the form of ravva, biscuits, etc. to the children and other beneficiaries of Anganwadi centres, and directions to district collectors to arrange locally procured and freshly-cooked food to improve the nutritional and health status of children.
There was a need to enhance the budgetary allocation to ICDS to benefit all the poor and marginalised children in the state, they said and also complained about lack of basic amenities such as safe drinking water, toilets and pucca buildings at Anganwadi centres.
The chief secretary, director of women development and child welfare, commissioner of ICDS, principal secretary (food & civil supplies), principal secretary (rural development), managing director of AP Foods and chief executive officer of Naandi Foundation have been named as respondents.