One lakh girls in 11-14 age group brought back to schools: Government sources

The drop in the number of girls in the age group of 11-14 years shows that many fake beneficiaries and wrong entries have been removed, officials added.
Image used for representation.(Express Illustration)
Image used for representation.(Express Illustration)

NEW DELHI: Nearly 1 lakh girls, who had dropped out of school due to various reasons, have now been brought back to schools, officials said Monday.

The Union Women and Child Development ministry officials said in 2013-14, states and union territories had put the figure at 1.14 crore, but it came down to five lakh in 2020-21, to 3.8 lakh in 2021-22 and finally to about one lakh in July last year.

The drop in the number of girls in the age group of 11-14 years shows that many fake beneficiaries and wrong entries have been removed, officials added.

"These one lakh girls have since been brought back to the mainstream education and then the scheme (for adolescent girls) was revised," a senior official, who did not wish to be named, said.

These steps were taken after the ministry last year launched a nationwide campaign Kanya Shiksha Pravesh Utsav. The aim of the campaign was to bring back out-of-school adolescent girls in this age group into the education system.

The Scheme for Adolescent Girls in the age group of 11-14 years have been discontinued and a revised scheme has been introduced and subsumed under the Saksham Anganwadi (SAG) and Poshan 2.0 Mission.

In the revised SAG which covers girls in the 14-18 age group in aspirational and northeast region districts, as many as 22.40 lakh adolescent girls have been identified. "Out of 22 lakh, Aadhaar seeding of 19 lakh has been done,” the official said.

The Poshan Tracker which monitors and tracks activities of identified anganwadi centres on real-time basis has 9.38 crore Aadhaar-seeded beneficiaries out of a total of 10.06 crore.

The official also said that 10 lakh anganwadi centres have been geo-tagged and the work is on for the remaining centres.

An age-appropriate take-home ration is being designed for children up to six years of group and a proposal has been sent to the finance ministry.

Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Ministry officials said malnutrition figures remain inconsistent.

Under the National Family Health Survey-5, 7.7 per cent of children were shown to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 19.3% of children under SAM and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) cumulatively.

However, WCD Ministry data from Poshan Tracker shows that only 2.27 per cent children suffer from SAM and 7.06 per cent from SAM and MAM.

The government is also carrying out the Aadhaar-seeding of migrant workers so that they can avail the benefits of the Anganwadi scheme throughout the country.

"Till now, 57,000 migrant workers have started benefiting from it. This is an indication that within states and between states coordination has increased,” the official said.

"We identified 2 lakh anganwadis to make them 'saksham' and we have to make them so by 2025-26. In the first year of 2022-23, we had an aim to do 40,000. We managed to make 41,000 saksham anganwadi and the number would be 81,000 by year-end,” the official added.

Under the programme to upgrade mini-anganwadi to full-fledged anganwadi, the official said 1.60 lakh mini anganwadis have been identified for upgrade.

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