On Mission Vatsalya: The child at the centre

Context: Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 were launched recently to provide integrated benefits to women and children.

The intent behind these schemes is to provide integrated benefits to children and women.

What are the components under Mission Vatsalya?

Components under Mission Vatsalya include

Statutory bodies

Service delivery structures

Institutional care/services

non-institutional community-based care

Emergency outreach services

Training and capacity building.

What are some associated concerns?

ChildLine (1098), the 24-hour toll-free helpline for children in distress, will be manned by the Home Affairs Ministry under Mission Vatsalya, because of the need to ‘preserve data sensitivity’.

A road map to implement the scheme is not yet available, but it is understood that police personnel will first answer the call, handing over implementation to NGOs later.

– This is problematic as children do not feel comfortable confiding in police personnel.

What is ChildLine?

ChildLine, set up in 1996, has been in operation for over 25 years, growing gradually to become one of the largest global networks to assist and rescue children in distress.

It has functioned as a public-private partnership (PPP) between the government and civil society organisations to provide a first-responder safety net, and kick-start the process of rescue and rehabilitation of children.

ChildLine seeks to reduce the burden on the police force, and invokes their assistance only if the circumstances necessitate.

During a short-lived experiment in Chennai around 2003, when ChildLine calls were diverted to All Women Police Stations (AWPS) — they were flooded with calls, hampering regular work. Sometimes, all the children wanted was to spend some time talking to someone, or they were making multiple blank calls before they picked up the courage to tell all. In many cases, police intervention was not needed at all.
What is the way forward?

The govt must consider the issue from the perspective of the key beneficiary of this scheme — the child — and make sure that his/her safety, security and happiness are ensured.

Source: This post is based on the article “The child at the centre” published in The Hindu on 7th Apr 22.

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