“Bastar’s Historic Initiative: Anganwadi-Centered Caste Certificates for Children”

In a significant stride towards administrative efficiency and citizen convenience, the Bastar district in Chhattisgarh has revolutionized the process of obtaining caste certificates, particularly for children aged between three and six years. The District Administration, under the leadership of Collector Vijay Dayaram K., has implemented the “Mocho Chinhaari Abhiyan” (Mocho Chinhaari is a Halbi phrase that translates as “Meri Pehchan” in Hindi). This transformative initiative is reshaping the way essential documents are accessed in the region.

Historically, obtaining Caste Certificates posed a considerable challenge, especially for parents in the remote villages of Bastar district. The cumbersome journey of travelling 20 to 25 kilometres to the Tehsil Office for school admissions placed an undue burden on families, who often had to endure lengthy processes, enduring hardships due to a lack of essential information and documents.
Recognizing the need for a more accessible and streamlined approach, the District Collector initiated the “Mocho Chinhaari Abhiyan” in July 2023. This groundbreaking campaign, a collaboration between the Revenue Department and the Women and Child Development Department, aims to simplify the process of obtaining Caste Certificates, particularly for young children. Notably, this initiative marks a departure from the conventional method, as Caste Certificates are now being issued directly at Anganwadi Centers.
This initiative, led by the Women and Child Development Department, has had a significant impact, aiming to provide caste certificates to more than 24,000 children. With over 18,000 certificates already issued, in more than 1,980 Anganwadi Centers, it has successfully covered more than three-fourths of the children in the Bastar development region.

The campaign is structured in two distinct phases, ensuring a methodical and effective approach. In the first phase, Anganwadi workers identify children without caste certificates and proactively reach out to their parents. Application forms are filled out, accompanied by the necessary documents, and then submitted to the Tehsil Office. This collaborative effort aims to bridge the gap between families and essential administrative services. The second phase involves the Tehsil Office verifying the applications and subsequently issuing Caste Certificates for the children. These certificates are then distributed to both the children and their parents through Anganwadi Centers.

Earlier these certificates were issued in schools which are now availed by parents/guardians at the Anganwadi centres themselves. One of the beneficiaries of this initiative is Mr. Dhanurjay Bharti from Gram Dhanpur. He says, “My daughter attends Anganwadi. She is four and a half years old. Earlier, it was difficult to get a Caste Certificate. Going to the Tehsil, and talking to various Officials, Notaries, and Lawyers used to be a hassle. Now, the form is being filled in Anganwadi, and I am very grateful to the District Administration for issuing my daughter’s Caste Certificate through the Anganwadi Centre.”
Speaking on the initiative, Collector Dayaram emphasized, “The objective of this campaign is to make administrative services easily accessible to people living in the remote areas of Bastar. Previously, guardians of the children had to go through a lengthy process to obtain caste certificates. This is the first time that children through their guardians, can now receive their Caste Certificates at the doorstep.”
The “Mocho Chinhaari Abhiyan” not only represents a paradigm shift in administrative practices but also addresses the practical challenges faced by parents and guardians. By enabling the issuance of Caste Certificates at Anganwadi Centers, the initiative significantly reduces the need for families to undertake arduous journeys to Tehsil Offices.

Moreover, this streamlined process facilitates greater participation in scholarship programs and other government schemes, empowering families with newfound ease in availing benefits. The proactive measures taken by the Bastar District Administration are not just administrative reforms; they are catalysts for holistic development, paving the way for progress in the region.
The success of the “Mocho Chinhaari Abhiyan” serves as a testament to the power of innovative thinking and collaborative efforts in addressing longstanding challenges. As the district continues to pioneer initiatives that prioritize citizen welfare, the transformative impact on the lives of Bastar’s residents is evident. Through such endeavours, Bastar is carving a path towards a future where administrative services are not just accessible but tailored to meet the diverse needs of its populace, fostering a climate of inclusive development and progress.

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