TDD just a funding body: Official
Tribal Development Department doesn’t have specific data pertaining to malnutrition deaths
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