Video via Video Volunteers:
An Anganwadi centre in Bihar has been running in a dilapidated state for 7 years. Everyday, children sit besides crumbling walls and under a makeshift roof. The parents’ appeals to the Child Development Program Officer – that the school urgently be rebuilt — have been ignored consistently. These children are the human face of our rural infrastructure crisis. When we see what it is like to try to study in a building where you fear the roof will collapse on your head, we understand that the country’s infrastructure crisis is not just about highways and electricity poles; it’s about children and education and healthcare. The most urgent infrastructure need is, in fact, rebuilding schools, anganwadis and medical facilities in the countryside. This is just as urgent – if not more so – than building new highways and smart cities, but it is massively under-prioritised by the government. While more money has been allocated to sectors like transport and energy, the overall spending on rural development has dropped from 8 per cent to 1 per cent of the Central plan. The Government recently slashed the allocation for the Women and Child Development Ministry by more than 50% from last year’s allocation, in the 2015 Union Budget – which directly impacts the fund allocation for anganwadis.
But the question is – with the recent launch of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme by PM Modi, will the Government really focus on this infrastructure lacuna which directly impacts education for children studying in over a million anganwadis in India?