In the context of the disruption caused by the pandemic, YUVA in collaboration with UNICEF-Maharashtra, piloted the concept of Social Protection Facilitation Centres (SPFCs) in three diverse settings – Panvel, Raigad district (urban, peri-urban); Kagal, Kolhapur district (rural) and Chikhaldara, Amravati district (tribal) – with the objective of increasing access to a range of social protection measures in the Maharashtra. These model SPFCs facilitated filing of both physical and online applications. In all, a total of 12,627 applications for social protection schemes and identity documents were filed across the three SPFCs during a 26-month operating period i.e. over 175 applications were filed at each centre every month. Of the total applications filed, 10,247 applications were sanctioned, at a sanctioning rate of over 81%. In the process, cash entitlements amounting to INR 2,04,68,169 were received by applicants, a large part of which coincided with the difficult post-pandemic phase for most of the communities.
The first part of this two-part blog series presented narratives on the challenges encountered in accessing pension and conditional support schemes and the nature of intervention by model SPFCs. This second part of the blog series presents narratives on facilitation of measures related to girl children, food and nutrition and labour entitlements.
All the names used here are pseudonyms.
Enabling Access to Social Protection Schemes for Girl Children
Securing the Future of a Girl Child by facilitating access to Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree Yojana – Chikhaldara, Amravati
Girija & Shruti
Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree Yojana
“Daughters are a blessing for the household!” How many times have we heard this when a girl child is born? However, in a country where over two lakh young girls die yearly, it is only rarely that we ponder over providing for girl children and raising them in a safe and healthy environment. Several factors lie behind the increasing mortality rate among young girls, of which poverty and lack of accessibility to safe and healthy environments are some of the significant ones.
This was also the case with Girija and Shruti. As per government criteria, their family was Below Poverty Line. Both their parents work as daily wage earners to meet their day-to-day needs. But low and untimely wages, and unstable job opportunities, meant that the family faced chronic financial crisis. The parents were worried and anxious about raising their daughters and providing quality education to them.
One of the significant interventions by the government to address these issues is the Majhi Kanya Bhagyashree Yojana. Under this initiative, the government provides financial incentives for families to retain their girl child, educate them, prevent child marriage and support skill development. As is the case with most of the government schemes, the issue of awareness and implementation was a significant hindrance for Girija and Shruti’s parents in availing the benefits of such schemes. Girija and Shruti’s parents learned about this scheme and about all the documents required for the scheme at the SPFC at Chikhaldara.
With effective family planning, the family chose to have two daughters, which made them eligible for the scheme. Under the guidance of the Social Protection Advisor, the family arranged all the necessary documents, including a BPL card, Address Proof, Income Certificate, Birth Proof, Address Proof, and Bank Details, and submitted them to the anganwadi sevika. After completing all the procedures, they received a fixed deposit receipt for Rs. 25,000 for each of their daughters. This assistance was of great help to the family to support their household.
Ensuring Grassroots Access to Right to Food and Nutrition through SPFC Interventions
4. Provisioning of Ration Card through SPFC intervention unlocks access to a range of Social Protection Schemes – Chikhaldara, Amravati
Anna Surakhsha Yojana
Manas’s is a poor family living in Chikhaldara, Amravati. Soon after his marriage, he was separated from his parents’ family. Because of this, it became difficult for Manas to run his family because, with the separation from his parents’ family he lost access to subsidised rations. He says, “Neither did I have adequate money to feed my family nor did I have a ration card.” To provide for his family, Manas started working under MNREGA but his earnings were not sufficient to fulfill the needs of the family. Also, with the arrival of the monsoon season, he used to have difficulty finding work, and therefore he would migrate from one place to another along with his family.
The YUVA SPFC team at Chikhaldara came in contact with Manas during an awareness camp conducted near his village. The camp was organized to inform the villagers about the various social protection schemes being provided by the government. Manas attended the camp to get information about the various schemes being provided and how he could use those schemes to improve the family’s financial situation. He says, “I got to know about ‘Anna Suraksha Yojna’ scheme, under which I could get a ration card and also receive food grains.” After filling out the form and submitting all the documents, Manas got a ration card for his family, with the help of the Social Protection Project of YUVA. He is able to get 35 kg of wheat and rice every month. Emphasizing the importance of the intervention, he says,
“Now my family is able to have food twice a day. And because of the ration card, my family is able to access other schemes as well.”
The financial condition of the family has also improved because Manas can now spend the money that he used to earlier spend on buying rations, on other requirements of the family.
5. Urgent Intervention by the SPFC to ensure medical attention to a Severely Malnourished Girl Child- Kagal, Kolhapur
Nandyal , Kagal, Kolhapur
Social Protection Facilitation Centre at Kagal, visited an anganwadi (ICDS centre) under the aegis of the Child and Gender Friendly Panchayat program, and the Social Protection Program to collect information about malnourished children. During the visit, the SPFC team met with Maithili, who weighed around 10 kgs, and looked visibly malnourished. Because of falling below the cut-off level of 11.1 kg for her age, she was placed under the “extremely malnourished child” category.
On receiving this information from the anganwadi sevika, the SPFC team visited Maithili’s family to understand her nutritional needs. The team determined that Maithili needs to be admitted to a hospital because of her severe malnutrition. Initially, her parents were reluctant to admit Maithili to a hospital, but when the SPFC team explained to the family that Maithili was in a serious condition, and the need for her to gain weight, her parents admitted her to the District hospital.
After 10 days her weight gradually increased and when she was discharged, her weight was 11.34, up from 10.2 kg when she was admitted. Now she has been placed under the ‘moderately malnourished’ category, and the doctors have advised her family to provide her adequate nutrition. Her weight would be monitored regularly at the anganwadi centre. By ensuring urgent medical attention for Maithili, severe health consequences have been averted.
Ensuring Access to Labour Entitlements
6. Gaining Access to the Labour Entitlements under Building & Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Act – Kagal, Kolhapur
Building & Other Construction Worker Registration
Aniruddh is a 40-year-old construction laborer. He is a resident of Arjuni, Kagal district, Kolhapur. He lives in a joint family with his father, mother, wife, and two children – one boy and one girl child. A camp for registration with the E-shram portal was organized by the SPFC Kagal Centre in Arjuni village. During the camp, when SPFC team members were explaining about the various schemes available, Aniruddh enquired about the schemes related to construction labourers. The team members told him about the schemes under the Building & Other Construction Worker Board and asked Aniruddh to gather all the documents that included Certificate of having worked as a construction worker for 90 consecutive days from the gramsevak or contractor, a self-declaration letter, Aadhar card, Bank Passbook, Ration card, and a PAN card.
After learning about the scheme for construction workers, Aniruddh returned to his house and tried filling out the form with the help of someone. But Aniruddh was asked for Rs 1500 to fill out the form. Subsequently, he reached out to SPFC members and explained his situation. The members took all the documents from him, filled out the 90-day work form, and took the signatures from gramsevak. And finally, Aniruddh’s form for registration with the Board was filled out at SPFC Kagal Centre. Within 5 days, he received a message for an update, and after 7 days, he received another message for payment of a fee of Rs. 37. At the SPFC center, Aniruddh paid only 37 rupees for his form submission; if he had filled the form anywhere else, he would have to pay Rs. 1500.
After the payment of the fee, he received his registration number. Then he went to Kolapur and filled out the form for ‘Suraksha Kavach Peti’ and got the Safety Kit. Having registered with the Board, his children were also able to receive scholarships under the schemes operated by the Board. Thus, with the help of the SPFC, Aniruddh was able to access labour entitlements without having to pay any extra amount.