Jaipur: Rajasthan uniquely uplifts the nutrition of women in the state through its flagship Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana (IGMPY), said Jitendra Kumar Upadhyay, Secretary to Government, Department of Women and Child Development, Rajasthan. He was speaking at a multi-state dialogue on ‘Cash Plus Interventions for improving maternal and child nutrition outcomes’ held in the city today organised by the Department of Women and Child, Government of Rajasthan, in partnership with IPE Global. “For Rajasthan to tackle low birth and wasting, IGMPY focuses on the first 1000 days – the time from a child being conceived to his or her second birthday,“ he explained adding that the Government’s focus is on during pregnancy and post-delivery counselling, immunisation, nutrition, education and increasing the total coverage of beneficiaries.
Rajasthan will potentially benefit about three fourth of all pregnant and lactating women using a combination of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and IGMPY. Every effort is being made to improve health-seeking behaviours, ante-natal registrations and track that cash has been spent on the nutrition of pregnant women, lactating mothers and their children. CL Verma, Special Assistant to the Minister Women and Child Department spoke about the success of cash transfers in Rajasthan and complimented the Department of Mines for supporting the State’s IGMPY. He also commended the National Informatics Centre for their support in developing the IGMPY cash transfer system for time-bound cash transfers to all eligible women.
Ramavtaar Meena, Director, ICDS, Government of Rajasthan, emphasised the distinctiveness of Rajasthan’s approach in implementing the PMMVY and IGMPY. The remarkable aspect of these schemes is that they are paperless in nature. Additionally, the effective coordination with the Health, Women and Child Development, and Information Technology departments have played a crucial role in ensuring the schemes’ success. The event brought together policy makers, academicians, and practitioners from various states to discuss and deliberate on the design and impact of cash transfer programmes in India’s context of maternal and child nutrition.
Raghwesh Ranjan, Senior Director of Social and Economic Empowerment at IPE Global, talked about the evolution of IGMPY in Rajasthan and highlighted how the scheme uses behaviour change as a core for building a caregiving ecosystem around women.
Hemang Shah Director, Child Health and Development, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) discussed lessons from global cash transfer initiatives in improving health and nutrition outcomes. He underscored the importance of complimenting cash transfers with contextualized SBCC strategies to bring out intended outcomes.
During the dialogue, there were two-panel discussions. The first panel focused on Cash Transfer initiatives and innovations from Indian states. Government representatives from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha shared their experiences and learnings from Cash Plus programmes, providing valuable insights into the challenges and potential solutions for implementing effective cash transfer schemes.
The second panel delved into ‘Sharpening behavioural interventions to tackle gender and social norms related to mother and child nutrition’. Experts from diverse backgrounds, including practitioners, academicians, and policymakers, engaged in discussions to explore strategies to bring about positive behavioural change to improve maternal and child nutrition outcomes.
A coffee table book “Nurturing Champions” featuring inspiring tales of maternal and child nutrition success from five RajPusht districts and the endeavour of cash plus programming was also released on the occasion. CL Verma, Special Assistant to the Minister Women and Child Department, Poshan Chandrakar, Special Secretary, DWCD Government of Chhattisgarh, Ramavtaar Meena, Director, ICDS, Government of Rajasthan, Hemang Shah Director, Child Health and Development, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) Raghwesh Ranjan, Senior Director of Social & Economic Empowerment at IPE Global released the coffee table book.