TDD just a fund­ing body: Of­fi­cial

Tribal Devel­op­ment De­part­ment doesn’t have spe­cific data per­tain­ing to mal­nu­tri­tion deaths

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Kan­chan Sri­vas­tava Kan­chan. sri­vas­tava@ dnain­dia. net

Ac­cord­ing to the Women and Child Devel­op­ment De­part­ment ( WCD), 208 kids died in Pal­ghar from April to Au­gust and health de­part­ment says 340 kids died in the same pe­riod.

None of the two de­part­ments have any spe­cific data per­tain­ing to mal­nu­tri­tion deaths. Min­is­ter Vishnu Savara quoted the fig­ures of WCD, when he was cornered on the is­sue.

Ideally, the Tribal Devel­op­ment De­part­ment ( TDD) should have been an um­brella body to spear­head var­i­ous wel­fare schemes for trib­als, but un­for­tu­nately, that is not the case.

The de­part­ment that had an an­nual al­lo­ca­tion of Rs5,170 crore in 2015- 16 merely func­tions as “fund­ing body”.

When asked about kids deaths in his area, Babasa­heb Pardhe, project of­fi­cer of In­te­grated Tribal Devel­op­ment Project ( Jawhar, Mokhada, Wada and Vikram­gad), said, “Nu­tri­tional schemes are im­ple­mented by In­te­grated Child Devel­op­ment Project through aan­gan­wadis, which comes un­der WCD. Treat­ment of mal­nour­ished kids is taken care of by Pub­lic Health and Fam­ily Wel­fare de­part­ments. We pro­vide them funds from time to time. None of th­ese de­part­ments’ re­port to us.”

Aan­gan­wadis not only cater to chil­dren un­der six, but also preg­nant moth­ers. They also take care of im­mu­ni­sa­tion and health screen­ing of kids with the help of ASHA and ANM.

Two other main schemes youths,” said a de­part­ment of­fi­cial. In­ci­den­tally, ashram schools are ac­cused of large scale ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and high­est num­ber of deaths across In­dia. 684 tribal chil­dren died in Ma­ha­rash­tra state- run res­i­den­tial schools in the last five years out of the to­tal 883 deaths in In­dia.

“Mal­nu­tri­tion has a com­plex set of po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic causes. Un­for­tu­nately, there are no easy so­lu­tions that fit en­tire state and com­plete within a sin­gle dead­line,” says Ma­hesh Raut, tribal ac­tivist from Gad­chi­roli.

While min­is­ter and sec­re­tary re­mained un­reach­able, a top of­fi­cial de­fended: “Gov­er­nor had re­cently pulled up the three de­part­ments on lack of co­or­di­na­tion. We are now seek­ing to col­lab­o­rate for bet­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion of schemes.”

A two- year- old mal­nour­ished child with his mother in Pal­ghar

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