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Recasting Food: An Ethnographic Study on How Caste and Resource Inequality Perpetuate Social Disadvantage in India

Nakkeeran, N; Jadhav, S; Bhattacharya, A; Gamit, S; Mehta, C; Purohit, P; Patel, R; (2020) Recasting Food: An Ethnographic Study on How Caste and Resource Inequality Perpetuate Social Disadvantage in India. CASTE: A Global Journal on Social Exclusion , 1 (1) pp. 1-16. 10.26812/caste.v1i1.6. Green open access

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Abstract

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is the principal programme operating in India to address issues around child development, malnutrition and pre-school education. A package of services – including the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP), pre-school education, immunization, health check-ups, referral services, and nutrition and health education – are provided through an Anganwadi Centre (AWC) with an Anganwadi Worker (AWW) and an Anganwadi Helper (AWH) for roughly every one thousand people. From the mid-1990s, there have been successive efforts on the part of the Government of India to universalize ICDS, and there has been a multi-fold increase in funds allocated to this programme between the 8th Five-Year Plan (1992–93 to 1996–97) and the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012–17) (1-2). However, the utilization of all services under ICDS continues to be grossly low. Close to 75 percent of children aged 0–71 months in the areas covered by AWCs did not receive any supplementary food from the centres, and less than 12 percent of children received supplementary food ‘almost daily’. For children aged 36–71 months this figure is 15.5 percent. More than 80 percent of children were not weighed at all. It has been reported that children belonging to economically backward and socially marginalised families, including Dalit, tribal, and religious minorities, are excluded from utilising these services through unfavourable institutional rules and structural factors. Equally, members of well-off families do not use services provided by AWCs – especially the SNP – for under-6 children. A multi-sited ethnographic study was conducted in four villages in Gujarat in order to identify the reasons behind poor utilisation of AWCs, especially the SNP services. The study aimed to understand everyday experience of households around the SNP in rural settings and an opportunity to study AWCs as institutions embedded in the context of village cultural life. The authors hypothesise that a study focusing on AWCs could serve as an illustrative case to highlight challenges in implementing other entitlement-based programmes.

Type: Article
Title: Recasting Food: An Ethnographic Study on How Caste and Resource Inequality Perpetuate Social Disadvantage in India
Location: US
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.26812/caste.v1i1.6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.26812/caste.v1i1.6
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086965
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