NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK – A Shakti Vahini Research Initiative
The Ministry of Women and Child Development recently held a meeting with secretaries of States/UTs to review its programmes and schemes and to discuss the Plan for 2012-13. The meeting was inaugurated by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development.
While addressing the meeting, Smt. Neela Gangadharan, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development stated that during 2011-12, 97% of the financial allocation to the Ministry was disbursed to States /UTs for implementation of various programmes and schemes. She stressed on the importance of State Governments to play a proactive role in ensuring more effective delivery of services for women and children through convergence and monitoring of existing schemes and programmes. The Secretary emphasized on the need to focus on the more qualitative aspects of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) such as enforcement of norms and standards and to expedite the operationalisation of anganwadi centres (AWCs), all over the country including urban settlements.
The Secretary also drew attention of the States/UTs to the disturbing cases of abuse in Children’s Homes reported recently. She emphasized on the need to place registration of all Child Care Institutions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, on the highest priority. This would ensure regular monitoring and inspection as envisaged under the JJ Act, of standards of care in these institutions and thereby prevent abuse of children.
For the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), being implemented now in 34 States/UTs, the WCD Secretary stated that recruiting of skilled personnel across the country, for the safety net of dedicated Service Delivery Structures for Child Protection envisaged by the scheme, was crucial for effective implementation and States need to expedite appointment of skilled people at State and district level, at the earliest.
In the course of review of IGMSY, the issue of non opening of bank accounts by banks/post offices for migrant populations was raised. States were informed that the necessary instructions regarding this have been issued by the Department of Financial Services (DFS). However, there was need for follow up with DFS for facilitation regarding the opening of bank accounts for migrant beneficiaries and with the postal department for addressing the needs of the migrant population.
While reviewing Sabla, the Secretary impressed on the need to carry out a mapping exercise of vocational training providers (VTPs), for establishing effective linkages with Training Institutions and for addressing the issues of accessibility and affordability of these institutions for the beneficiaries (16 – 18 years) covered by Sabla.
For the schemes pertaining to women empowerment and development, which are largely implemented through the voluntary sector, Secretary (WCD) reiterated the need for States to identify credible voluntary organizations for effective delivery of services and for strengthening these services by putting monitoring systems in place. States were requested to give more attention and evolve better project proposals for the Scheme for Training and Empowerment (STEP) programme and to appoint nodal officers under the UJJWALA Scheme to prevent trafficking and coordinate for better implementation.