Public facilities and common services in India would soon be funded and designed with the interests of children in mind. The Ministry of Women and Child Development, as part of its “Mission Vatsalya” program, on Thursday requested state governments/UT administrations to prepare their financial proposal and plans for the year 2022 -23 as part of the “Mission Vatsalya Scheme”.
The ministry has also released detailed guidelines for the program which promotes non-institutional family care for children in difficult circumstances based on the principle of institutionalization of children as a measure of last resort.
Promoting child budgeting, the central government said the new program takes into account that a large number of programs are implemented for people regardless of their age or gender.
“However, because facilities or services are created with an adult perspective, they are often unable to meet the needs of children. For example, drinking water taps in public places are mostly at a height not suitable for children,” the guidelines document states, adding that as a result, a considerable number of young beneficiaries are unwittingly deprived of services. .
“There is a need to have a child-sensitive orientation when building public facilities or providing common services. As part of the Vatsalya mission, all ministries, departments and states should strive to invest adequately for children in their programs and maintain a child-sensitive disposition when designing programs,” indicates the guidance document.
The program has also proposed to conduct a national child survey and develop a child index in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI).
“It is necessary to map the needs of children through a periodic survey of children, in order to ensure an appropriate response in terms of policy, programs or projects. With the help of the Child Index, the performance of various districts, states and UTs will be assessed and specific needs/areas will be identified for the design of targeted interventions,” the government guidelines added.
Mission Vatsalya, a former Child Protective Services (CPS) program, aims to ensure children have the opportunity to discover their full potential and help them thrive in all respects in a sustainable manner, fostering a sensitive ecosystem , supportive and synchronized for the development of children, assisting States/UTs to fulfill the mandate of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 and achieve the goals of the SDGs.
Mission Vatsalya has components to improve the functioning of statutory bodies; strengthen service delivery structures; high-end institutional care/services; encouraging non-institutional community care; emergency response services; training and capacity building.
The program, according to the government, is to be implemented as a centrally sponsored program in partnership with states and UT administrations to help them universalize access and improve the quality of services across the country. The pattern of sharing funds as prescribed by the Ministry of Finance is to be in the ratio of 60:40 between the Central and State and Union territories with the Legislature, respectively.