IMPHAL, March 29: A one-day discussion on the Child Welfare Scheme in Manipur, organised by Wide Angles Social Development in collaboration with Child Rights and You (CRY), was held on Saturday at Hotel Imphal Classic.
Nandini Thokchom, Director of Indigenous Perspective, Woman and Child Unit; K Pradip, Convenor of MACR; Mala Laishram, State Programme Co-ordinator of ICPS; Dr Usha Khundrakpam, the Joint Director of Dept of Family Welfare; Ashim Ghosh of CRY and Y Rupachandra, the Editor In-Chief of Impact TV took part in the deliberation.
The Convener of MACR said that enforceable law is needed for children, which is still missing in the Indian context, adding that the policy has been drafted but there is no proper implementation of child protection laws. The early childhood care (ECC) and education is not delivered to the child.
Continuing that Anganwadi centre is the earliest stage for a child to develop their knowledge and 80% of their brain development should begin at the centre, he lamented the neglect of such centres of learning for the child. Even though various funds for nutrition and other facilities were allocated to the department by the Ministry of India, it was yet to be delivered to children who still haven’t benefited from the child nutrition programme.
To provide nourishment to the child, the centre can link with the various farms to buy vegetables, eggs and others for cooked and fresh food.
He said that the political leadership in the state is minimal and corruption is high in the state. 45% of the state’s population were below poverty line and it is only going to increase as the state is in conflict zone. Less political participation results in lack of accountability for the child rights. A comprehensive continues evaluation is needed for the right to education for the children to work in the state. Teachers need to support those students who failed. Lack of proper education in the last 60 years is a reason why no good leaders emerge from the state and why it a fertile ground for corruption.
Nandini said that there are lot of changes in the welfare of the people but the word ‘scheme’ is negative because due to workloads and malnutrition, women in the state suffered a lot. In a conflict zone, domestic violence increases against women.
Continuing that JSSK is a good scheme but it leads to corruption as a normal family has to pay a bribe to avail the benefits of such schemes, she said people in the hilly areas face difficulties in reaching the nearest primary health centres due to the deplorable conditions of the roads in remote areas.
She said that there are other factors such as lack of hygienic sensitisation, safe drinking water. There should be a specific indicator for the child and for the women in the state.
Mala Laishram, the state programme co-ordinator of ICPS said that out of 43 Integrate Child Development Schemes (ICDS) in Manipur, 42 are functioning in the state. Continuing that the state health and nutrition policy of those below six years, lactic mothers, pregnant women and adolescents are undertaken from anganwadi centres, she said that the centres try to make the mothers aware of the nutrition and health care facilities for both mother and child.
Localities need to support the anganwadi centres. There is a room for the improvement and monthly discussions with anganwadi centres and ICDS should be held in the state.
She continued that the Integrate Child Protection Scheme was initiated on 5 Nov, 2009 for the development of a safe environment and well being of children in different circumstances and also to reduce their vulnerability and actions that lead to their abuse, neglect, exploitation and separation from their families.
She said that all the districts except Tamelong and Chandel have Juvenile Justice Courts and Justice N Kotiswar of the High Court of Manipur have visited all the seven districts.
She continued that several activities are being done such as the monitoring of JJA, sponsoring publication of awareness materials on trafficking and also awareness and sensitization programmes in Ukhrul and Chandels district.