Prayas’ Comments for High Committee for Engagement of Private Sector, International Organisations, NGOs /CSO, Development Partners

Prayas JAC Society which operates in 10 States, latest being Kashmir, where we are doing some disaster related work, operates through nearly 800 full time and part time professionals. Through our 200 centres we are running multiple programs directly for the deprived children, women, youth and communities in need of care and in difficult circumstances. As of now, during the COVID-19 disaster nearly 400 front-line workers are engaged in direct services and we are sharing our experiences along with suggestions.
Since, we are running 40 Homes/Shelters for the Homeless and uprooted migrant workers besides the children in difficult circumstances, we are providing all services including food, safety, maintenance and health care to nearly 3000 of them. Our co-workers and volunteers are finding it extremely difficult to run these centres due to serious lack of funds and support from the government including transportation, the curfew passes etc. In all we are accessing about 10000 needy persons through our helplines and other direct services in the communities.
We are running major health programs in Lohit district of AP, the main CHC/PHC being Wakro and Medo in Lohit district. Due to proximity to Chinese border, this area has serious problems and with the help of government we have created several quarantine homes.  During the Video Conference meeting, we have offered the following suggestions to meet the disaster being confronted in various parts of the country, some of which we are handling directly, like the ongoing crisis of huge no. of reverse migration on Delhi -UP border:
1. As suggested by us and several other participants, there is an urgent need to create a nation- wide cadre of COVID disaster volunteers who could join hands with the govt. and voluntary organizations with the govt. including PRIs/local bodies, voluntary organizations and others to render different types of services as per the needs, depending on their background and skills they could associate with front-line health, social workers, skilled persons passing out of the training centres etc. These volunteers could be engaged for about a month and paid Rs 1000 per day which would include their honorarium and the cost for food and transport.
2. It is serious problem for the voluntary organizations and local level action groups to move out and operate in the area even while they represent their organisation, since they do not have authorization or passes from the local authorities and police. The District Magistrates and SPs could be communicated to facilitate and help these workers while they operate along with the reputed organizations.
3. The DMs and District Development Officers may be asked to identify the NGOs/CSOs/voluntary action groups constituted by the volunteers, at the panchayat, block and district levels including the cities/ towns.
4. There are large no of institutions and facilities in existence and functional across the country. For example, there are 9000 homes/shelters, majority run by NGOs alongside the Child helplines (1098) which cater to the requirements of nearly 3 lakh homeless, destitute and other children in extremely difficult circumstances. Similar institutions are in existence for elders, disabled, women and girls in crisis, whose services could also be taken. These institutions could become the nodal points for multiple types of services including non- institutional care in the communities. They could be specially authorized to undertake COVID 19 related services.
5. The serious problem of the uprooted migrant workers on their reverse journeys towards their home states have to be urgently tackled. The voluntary organizations (nearly 90000 of them registered at DARPAN portal) could be engaged for this purpose with some incentives deemed appropriate and the actual cost of support services like food and accommodation in the neighboring institutions including schools and colleges.
6. Several CSOs in our Standing Committee and outside have outreach health, nutrition and sanitation services who could be directly engaged in their respective areas and specializations. They could join hands with the ASHA and Anganwadi workers beside SHGs and other local associations to provide basic safety precautions and health services.
7. It is being increasingly felt that the economic disaster which is mounting, its pressure might be as dangerous or more like the COVID-19 disaster in the country. Couple of million youth have been trained recently in thousands of training centres with National and State level skill development schemes and programs. Majority of these skilled youth are reported to be unemployed or under employed. The skill development related organisations and training providers who are very much on our records along with these trainees are available for economic rehabilitation services during this crisis and subsequently. It is suggested that with financial incentives, home based, micro/small-scale cottage industries and livelihood activities could be supported without causing health hazards.

Amod Kanth alongwith Prayas Family
General Secretary, Prayas JAC Society
Chairman Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council
Member Coordinator, NITI-CSO Standing Committee, NITI Aayog

Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre (JAC) Society
59, Tughlakabad Institutional Area
New Delhi-110062, India
Telefax: 91-11-29955505, 29956244