To ensure that children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers receive uninterrupted nutrition while migrating with their families to work, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) has introduced a “Poshan Card” that allows the easy transfer of services from one Anganwadi relieved on the other.

State Minister for Women’s and Child Development (WCD) Yashomati Thakur said two maps, green and pink, have been introduced specifically for migrants to help them map their movement and continue their diet. “When they emigrate, they often disappear from our radar and are not registered with the Anganwadi in another city,” she said.

Officials said Anganwadi will issue green cards to children, pregnant and breastfeeding women in rural and indigenous areas, where there is high outflow of migrants. “This is where all the details on weight, anemia status, (other) health problems, history of malnutrition and treatment, as well as details of the history of folic acid tablets, etc., are given,” said Shobha Shelar, Mumbai District WCD officer. Shelar said most cases of migration had been detected in brick kiln and sugar cane farmers.

Once the beneficiary reaches a town, the local Anganwadi worker fills out a pink card stating the continuation of the services. Shelar said the Poshan card will ensure the beneficiary does not have to re-register with the Anganwadi.

Before the Poshan card was introduced, children and women were expected to visit Anganwadi to sign up for the ration. With the card in hand, they can now get ration from the anganwadi that is most convenient for them.

Data through April shows that of the 60.64 lakh children under the age of six surveyed across the state, 10 percent were underweight. Of these, 5.24 lakh were moderately underweight and 83,909 severely underweight children. In absolute terms, the highest severely malnourished children were in Nandurbar (11,008), Nashik (8,749) and Palghar (5,860).

WCD officials said they found the highest levels of malnutrition to be found in children of migrant families. “In addition to promoting institutional engagement, the Poshan card can also be used as a means of tracking seasonal migrant families and children in the absence of a digital tracking system,” said a WCD ministry official.

At the end of April, ICDS asked all districts to provide funds for printing the Poshan cards.