Looking After Women and Children
- Bhakti Kothari
- Published on 15 Mar 2021, 5:00 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
The women and children of Kerala are into safe hands as the government is bringing out major initiatives to support them and uplift their lives.
- IAS officer, Mr. Biju Prabhakar
Kerala is known for its palm-lined beaches and backwaters. It is also the most literate state in India, with a 96.2% literacy rate. Already on the higher ranks of development, Kerala is currently focusing on its women and children. And the person behind several new projects launched in Kerala is IAS officer Mr. Biju Prabhakar. He is an officer of the 2004 batch, Kerala cadre.
In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Prabhakar shared the details of various projects that he has been pursuing.
It is a nutrition-focused program by the ICDs (International Classification of Diseases). Earlier the state was focusing only on providing meals to the beneficiaries of Anganwadis, but now it has become more focused.
“We have weighing scales and stadiometer installed, which will not only measure the height and weight of the workers but will also enter their details into an application called ‘potion tracker’. This will help us in gaining the correct information and analyzing if the problem of malnutrition stands in the society/community,” Mr. Prabhakar told Indian Masterminds.
The equipment has been installed in 11 districts of Anganwadi workers. Earlier, all the details regarding the 500-600 workers were only available to the workers themselves. An ICD supervisor used to visit the place, once in a while, and if he came across any abnormality in the data, only then would he intervene. But now that the data is visible to the district officials as well and can be compared with other regions, according to which they can analyze the requirements of people in different regions and supply them with the necessary nutrition.
WOMEN-CHILDREN FRIENDLY POLICE STATIONS
Kerala has established unique cells called ‘Nirbhaya cells’ that look after women’s rights issues. When it comes to child rights, Kerala has been sanctioned 28 fast-track courts which are helping the state in taking the child rights initiative forward.
The state has a Principal JJ committee held by the principal District Magistrate, a unique program that doesn’t exist anywhere in the country. Around 60 police stations in the state have been made child-friendly with a child corner and women police officers trained in handling children.
Mr. Prabhakar said, “There are a few cases of child crime that require a lot of consultation before taking a decision that should be in the best interest of a child. It requires a lot of input and needs to be handled delicately and we’re focusing on it. We have around 500 police stations and we are on our way to make all of them women and child friendly.”
The Kerala Government is now focusing on keeping at least one-third women population in the force who will handle all these programs carefully and efficiently.
CHILDREN PROTECTION PROGRAMS
Various programs are taking place in 320 schools of the state. It’s an initiative that looks after teenagers studying in schools and guides them towards a better future by counseling them regarding their career, studies, and avoidance of drugs, alcohol, etc.
Another initiative – Project ‘Kaval’ has been successfully implemented in association with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) for the past seven years in the state which aims at providing support in different levels to rehabilitate children who have committed offenses. Taking care of their health, providing de-addiction, providing mental, family, educational, economic, and skill supports are aimed through the program.
“The program is a success and has brought down child-crimes from 15% to 3%. We have also expanded the program with ‘Kaval plus’ which is a remedial mission that provides care and support to juvenile criminals. It is done on a school level and ensures that children go on the right path” Mr. Prabhakar told Indian Masterminds.
HOMES FOR THE DISTRESSED
Mr. Prabhakar talked about several ‘Nirbhaya Homes’ established in Kerala and these houses victims of abuse and give them a safe environment. Furthermore, he talked about various ‘Tejomaya homes’ that focus on enhancing the skills of children from childcare institutions and Nirbhaya homes.
He is also focusing on eradicating the issue of child marriage in society and has started a campaign wherein he is sensitizing the parents and children, by educating girls and generating employment for them.
Currently posted as the Secretary of Women and Child Department and the Social Justice Department, Mr. Prabhakar and the government of Kerala have been able to rehabilitate numerous women and children through these initiatives and are continuing to do so.
END OF THE ARTICLE