Mission Vatsalya

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    • Recently, the Women and Child Development Ministry released guidelines in order to access Central funds and benefits under Mission Vatsalya. 

    About Mission Vatsalya 

    • It is an umbrella scheme for child protection services in the country.
    • The objective of Mission Vatsalya is to secure a healthy and happy childhood for each and every child in the country.
    • It promotes family-based non-institutional care of children in difficult circumstances based on the principle of institutionalisation of children as a measure of last resort.
    • It will be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with state governments and UT administrations, with a fund-sharing pattern in a 60:40 ratio.
      • For the eight states in the Northeast as well as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir the Centre and state/UT’s share will be 90:10.
      • The Centre will cover the whole cost in UTs without a legislature.
    • Mission Vatsalya, in partnership with states and districts, will execute a 24×7 helpline service for children, as defined under JJ Act, 2015.
    • Components under Mission Vatsalya include:
      • Improve functioning of statutory bodies
      • Strengthen service delivery structures
      • Upscale institutional care and services
      • Encourage non-institutional community-based care
      • Emergency outreach services
      • Training and capacity building

    Name change saga/ Background on the issue

    • Before 2009, three schemes were being implemented under the WCD Ministry for children in need of protection:
      • The programme for juvenile justice for children in need of care and protection, and children in conflict with law;
      • The integrated programme for street children; and
      • The scheme for assistance to homes for children.
    • These were clubbed in 2010 into a single scheme called the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
    • It was then renamed “Child Protection Services” Scheme in 2017.
    • Again as Mission Vatsalya in 2021-22.

     

    Major Guidelines released by the centre  

    • Official names
      • States will have to retain the official name as given by the Centre to reap benefits under Mission Vatsalya.
      • Only a correct translation to the local language is permissible.
    • Branding of this Scheme: 
      • States will also have to comply with any guidelines/instructions issued by the Government of India regarding branding of this Scheme.
    • Funds: 
      • Guidelines detail the process by which funds will be disbursed to states under various heads by defining institutionalised arrangements.
      • Funds to states will be approved through the Mission Vatsalya Project Approval Board (PAB).
      • It will be chaired by the WCD Secretary who will scrutinise and approve annual plans and financial proposals received from states and UTs for release of grants.
    • PAB members
      • Secretaries of the departments of Home Affairs, Social Justice and Empowerment, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Housing and Urban Affairs, Labour, Youth Affairs and Sports, Department of School Affairs and Literacy, and the Niti Aayog CEO, will be PAB members.
    • Committees
      • At state level there will be a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to monitor, review and promote convergence in the implementation of the scheme.
      • There will also be a district-level committee.
    • Promoting adoption:
      • Guidelines state that Mission Vatsalya will support State Adoption Resource Agencies (SARA), which will support the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in promoting in-country adoption and regulating inter-country adoption.
      • SARA shall coordinate, monitor and develop the work related to non-institutional care including adoption in the state.
    • Cradle baby reception centres
      • Recognising that many districts do not have facilities to receive infants who are abandoned and vulnerable to be trafficked, the Mission envisages setting up cradle baby reception centres in at least one specialised adoption agency in a district.
    • Separate children’s homes
      • Based on gender (including separate homes for transgender children) and age will be established for children in need of care, as well as for special needs children.
    • Sign language
      • The staff in special units will have to know sign language, Braille, etc, according to the new guidelines.
    • Grading exercise
      • State governments are required to take up the exercise to grade each child care institution (CCI) at fixed intervals. 
      • The grading will be done based on infrastructure, quality of services, wellbeing of children, especially in terms of health and education, restoration and rehabilitation of children, etc.

    Way Forward/ Suggestions

    • States/UTs have also been directed to focus on special needs children in child care institutions: who are unable to attend school with physical or mental disabilities would now be provided special educators, therapists and nurses to impart occupational therapy, speech therapy, verbal therapy and other remedial classes.
    • Open Shelters registered by the state government will also be supported to look after runaway children, missing children, trafficked children, working children, children in street situations, child beggars, and child substance abusers, children affected by any natural disaster, children living in unauthorised areas/slums etc.
      • The Open Shelters are not meant to provide permanent residential facilities for children but will complement the existing institutional care facilities.
    • Financial support has also been prescribed for vulnerable children living with extended families or in foster care, supporting their education, nutrition and health needs.

    Source: IE