Adolescence marks a pivotal chapter in a young woman’s life, where she stands on the brink of adulthood, navigating the space between childhood and womanhood. It’s a time filled with significant mental, emotional, and psychological growth. Ensuring the well-being of adolescent girls is essential for holistic child development, as it addresses their unique needs during this transformative phase. The Adolescent Girls (AG) Scheme, a crucial component of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, aims to empower young girls, help them overcome nutritional and gender disparities, and offer them the necessary support to thrive.
What is the SAG Scheme?
The Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) was created in 2010 to provide extra support for girls aged 11 to 14. Its aim is to help break the cycle of nutritional and gender inequalities that often persist from one generation to the next. The program strives to create a nurturing environment where adolescent girls can grow and develop their full potential.
- SAG focuses on supporting adolescent girls who are out of school in a specific age range.
- The initiative was introduced back in 2011 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Previously known as the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG or SABLA).
- It took over the Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (NPAG) and Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY).
- The scheme utilizes the services provided by Anganwadi centers under the umbrella of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.
- It’s a centrally sponsored initiative carried out by the state and union territory governments.
SABLA scheme empowers young girls by providing the necessary means to lead a healthy and meaningful life. The detailed objectives are as follows-
- Empowering young girls to lead a more productive life
- Focusing on overall well-being through targeting nutrition and non-nutrition needs
- Promoting skill development to make adolescent girls self-reliant \
- Upgrading their existing skills and tieing up with the National Skill Development Programme
- Using the potential of Anganwadis, schools, and panchayat buildings to reach every vulnerable girl
- Promoting Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH), counselling, child care practices among girls
- Bringing out of schools girls into the education system
Under the program, all Integrated Child Development Services projects will include adolescent girls between 11 and 18 (specifically those not attending school). We’ll roll out this coverage in 200 selected districts across all states and Union Territories. We’ll divide the target group into two age brackets: 11-15 and 15-18.
- The SABLA scheme, managed by state governments/UTs, aims to empower adolescent girls.
- The government fully funds all aspects of the scheme except for nutrition provisions.
- States receive financial aid up to 50% of actual costs or their expenses, whichever is lower.
- The Ministry of Women & Child Development oversees budget and administration from the central level.
- The Secretary of the Department of Women and Child Development/Social Welfare, along with other ICDS officials, oversee the implementation at the state level.
- Anganwadi centers serve as the primary hub for delivering scheme services.
- If we need to improve Anganwadi infrastructure, we’ll use alternate spaces like schools or community buildings.
- Anganwadi Workers identify and register adolescent girls in their area, encouraging them to participate.
- District Probation Officers are responsible for on-ground scheme implementation within their districts.
- Child Development Project Officers, along with supervisors, manage scheme implementation within ICDS Project areas.
Sabla Scheme, also known as the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme, has a multi-dimensional approach to improving the lives of adolescent girls. The following are its features:
- Providing nutritional supplements regularly in adequate quantity Giving life skills and counselling.
- Providing information on public services like Primary Healthcare Centres, Post Offices, Police Station, and Banks.
- Improving the overall well-being by educating on hygiene and family welfare.
SAG Scheme Services Provided
Under the scheme, the following services are provided to the beneficiaries.
Nutrition provision: Every out-of-school registered beneficiary would be provided with supplementary nutrition similar to that of pregnant women and lactating mothers under ICDS containing 600 calories, 18-20 grams of protein and micronutrients for 300 days in a year. This nutrition would be provided in the form of Take Home Rations or Hot Cooked Meals.
Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation: Adolescent Girls will receive information about food fortification, the benefits of taking IFA tablets to combat iron deficiency anemia, and how to diversify their diets along with receiving IFA tablets.
Health check-up and Referral services: General health check-up of all Adolescent Girls at least once in three months.
Nutrition & Health Education (NHE): Sustained information on health and nutrition will help enhance the general health of the beneficiaries and also their families which will help to break the vicious intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. This is given in the AWC jointly by the ICDS and health functionaries and resource persons/field trainers from NGOs/Community Based Organisations (CBOs).
Life Skill Education, home management, etc.: We offer beneficiaries guidance on life skills and home management, including tasks like home maintenance, budgeting, saving, running the household, understanding gender sensitivity, and ensuring the education of their children. Our aim is to empower them to become productive members of society as they grow up.
Counseling/Guidance on accessing public services:We collaborate with PRI members, NGOs/CBOs, health functionaries, police personnel, bank officials, post office officials, school authorities, etc., to arrange awareness talks and visits.
Read Also: Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK)