Updated: September 2, 2021 7:06:21 am
Maharashtra government’s pilot project to track and monitor inter-district migration, so that migrant children do not fall off the safety net of welfare benefits, was flagged off on Wednesday by state Women and Child Welfare Minister Yashomati Thakur. The project will be implemented in four districts and entail various state departments working in coordination to ensure that state benefits reach children even if they migrate with their parents out of their districts.
Malnutrition among children has been a serious issue in some districts of Maharashtra, which has introduced various welfare schemes to combat it. However, during a site visit to the tribal area of Melghat in Amravati district earlier this year, it was noticed that children who migrate with their parents outside the district often fall out of the radar of benefits and by the time they return to their villages, all the progress made so far in the fight against malnutrition is lost.
In June this year, the state government formed a special committee to study ways and means to address this issue and come up with a software-based solution. Headed by state ICDS Commissioner Rubal Agarwal, the committee also has members from UNICEF, IIT Mumbai, IIP and related government departments. Mittali Sethi, CEO of Chandrapur Zilla Parishad, is also part of the team.
The committee decided to have both an online and offline system to track migrants. Agarwal explained that the online system would have data about migrant children at the source. “Once the migration happens, the data would be accessed by officials at the destination, who would ensure benefits (special nutritious meals, eggs) would be continued for the children,” she said.
While such benefits are already available for children in their home districts, the project seeks to ensure that the children can access them even after they migrate to a different district.
Agarwal said for the next one month, officials from the four pilot districts of Palghar, Chandrapur, Amravati and Nandurbar will report on the progress of the project. The pilot programme will check all aspects of migration and come up with a workable solution for the whole state.
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