‘Mission Vatsalya’: New Relief Scheme for Abandoned Minor Girls Launched by Central Government

'Mission Vatsalya': New Relief Scheme for Abandoned Minor Girls Launched by Central Government
'Mission Vatsalya': New Relief Scheme for Abandoned Minor Girls Launched by Central Government

Under the ‘Mission Vatsalya’ initiative, the Central Government has introduced a new relief scheme aimed at addressing the plight of minor girls who have been abandoned by their families after becoming victims of rape and subsequent pregnancy. The Ministry of Women and Child Development launched Mission Vatsalya in 2021 with a primary focus on the protection and welfare of children. This comprehensive scheme takes inspiration from the motto ‘Leave No Child Behind’ and aligns with provisions from The Juvenile Care (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

Mission Vatsalya functions as a centrally sponsored scheme, working collaboratively with State Governments and Union Territory administrations to extend assistance to the victims. The scheme’s core objective is to provide crucial support, including shelter, food, transportation for court hearings, and legal aid, to minor girls who have been abandoned due to forced pregnancy and have no other means of support. It aims to establish shelters for these vulnerable victims while ensuring their holistic well-being.

Mission Vatsalya goes beyond the immediate relief by offering an integrated support system for the victim girls. It strives to provide them with access to education, necessary healthcare facilities encompassing maternity, neo-natal, and infant care, psychological aid, and legal assistance. The scheme also emphasizes the importance of police support in ensuring justice and protection for the affected minors.

Mission Vatsalya builds upon the foundation of previous welfare schemes launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Initially introduced as the Juvenile Justice Programme, the scheme underwent mergers and transformations over the years. In 2021, it was renamed as ‘Mission Vatsalya,’ emphasizing its core objective of providing care, support, and protection to children in need.

The government’s establishment of the Nirbhaya Fund in response to the Nirbhaya case in 2013 further supports projects related to women and child care and development. Managed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Nirbhaya Fund aims to address the specific needs of women and children in distress. Through the Empowered Committee, which comprises officers from various ministries and the secretary of MWCD, projects and programs under the Nirbhaya Fund are recommended for funding. Major initiatives funded by the Nirbhaya Fund include the Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVVF), One Stop Centres (ONCs), Universalization of Women Helpline (WHL), and Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV), among others.