Palghar - A Troubled Paradise
The scenic district, blessed with an unspoiled coast, sacred groves and rich biodiversity is one of the newest districts of Maharashtra state with 30.56% of the population belonging to scheduled tribes. Sadly, over the past decade Palghar has become synonymous with malnutrition and related deaths.
Palghar district of Maharashtra is predominantly a tribal area, where Agriculture provides the primary source of livelihood. Moreover the communities reply on agricultural practices to source their staple diet of rice, Ragi (finger millet) and pulses. The communities are also dependent on forest areas for other seasonal food sources like variety of tubers, fruits, pods, leaves and flowers. However, malnutrition and associated child mortality rate recorded amongst the tribal communities is often a cause of serious concern. In the year 2015, the state of Maharashtra had reported 1274 child deaths due to malnutrition, out of which almost 32% were from Palghar district.
Given the severity of the issue, and with an objective to provide effective solutions, the state government has established a relief network through its agencies like PHC (Primary Health Care Centre), ICDS (Integrated Child Development Service) and local Gram Panchayat. Further, a joint partnership of TERI and its partner organizations including the state government have volunteered to develop replicable sustainable solutions in close association with concerned stakeholders.