MAC: Mines and Communities

Vedanta's Agarwal sets out to better India's child and women "development"

Published by MAC on 2015-09-22
Source: Press Trust of India

Bread for the people - and roses for Agarwal

Vedanta owner, Anil Agarwal, has just scored a golden opportunity (backed by the government) to spread his philanphropy across India - by setting up no fewer than four thousand women and child health centres.

So far, he has failed to get permission to to set up his Harvard-modelled eponymous university, but this is a start at drilling the Vedanta brand name into thousands of small minds.

Who could possibly object to that?

Women and Child Development ministry signs MoU with Vedanta to build 4000 modern Anganwadis

Press Trust of India

21 September 2015

"Through these modern Anganwadis Vedanta endeavours to provide a better environment to the children of India. Healthy children and empowered women will eradicate poverty and malnutrition," Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal, said.

NEW DELHI: Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry today signed an MoU with Vedanta to develop 4000 modernized Anganwadi centers across the country with a total investment of Rs 400 crore.

The MoU was signed by Joint Secretary Dr. Rajesh Kumar, and Mayank Ashar, Managing Director, Cairn India, a subsidiary company of Vedanta, to develop 'next generation' Anganwadis.

Dr. Kumar said that through this partnership, Vedanta aims to create social incubators that will help uplift the communities on a national scale by educating children, eradicating malnutrition and developing vocational skills among women in India.

"We are planning to modernize the Anganwadis and revamp these as enablers that will not only provide supplementary nutrition and basic health care services in villages but also function as a place to mobilize the village women to increase their participation in community development," Secretary V. Somasundaran said.

Anganwadis will be built in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telengana and Uttar Pradesh.

These model Anganwadis will be built in clusters of 25-30 in a particular
district with multi functional capabilities. The land for the Anganwadis will be provided by the Gram Panchayats.

"We are happy to associate with the Ministry for setting up model Anganwadis. Through these modern Anganwadis Vedanta endeavours to provide a better environment to the children of India. Healthy children and empowered women will eradicate poverty and malnutrition," Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal, said.

The Anganwadis are proposed to be run as a shared space in which 50 per
cent of the time will be devoted to children's education and the remaining half will support women's skill development.

The model Anganwadis will be equipped with solar power, television for e-learning, hygienic toilets and pure drinking water supply.

Construction of these centres will be done by Vedanta, using prefabricated eco-friendly structures. Post construction, the new Anganwadi centres will be handed over to the respective Panchayat or local urban body.

These centers will also have access to medical vans provided by Vedanta to meet the need for primary medical services to children and women.

‘Cancel MoU on anganwadis with Vedanta’ 

The Hindu

24 September 2015

Flaying the NDA government for “leaving it to the charity of big business” to provide children the right to food, health, and education, the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) has demanded immediate cancellation of an agreement between the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Cairn India Ltd, a subsidiary of the multinational Vedanta, to “to develop and modernise 4,000 next generation anganwadis.”

“In Budget 2015-16, the Government has changed the funding pattern, putting the entire responsibility of running the scheme on the state governments. It has drastically cut the Budget allocation for ICDS to mere Rs 8,335.77 in 2015-16 from Rs 18,195 crore last year, in spite the proposed allocation as per the Planning Commission in the 12th Plan at Rs 23,025 crore,” said a statement by A. R. Sindhu, General Secretary of the AIFAWH.

She said lack of funds had already started affecting the scheme in Bihar, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh as nutrition was not being supplied for the past four-five months and anganwadi employees had not been paid wages in Maharashtra since April 2015. She accused the Government of “privatising” anganwadis by handing them over to corporates and corporate NGOs such as Vedanta, JP Cements, Nandi Foundation, and ISKON.



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