COVID-19 in Mumbai: BMC and TISS unmask ‘iCall’ for M (east) ward locals

BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) jointly with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) on Thursday, launched 'iCall' helpline service at the M (East) municipal ward, that covers the areas Govandi, Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd, Deonar and Anushakti Nagar.

The project is implemented as part of the Community Led Action, Learning and Partnership (CLAP) initiative of the TISS, which has launched its 'Transforming M ward' project in order to address social issues and play a key role in transforming the lifestyle of the people.

As part of the pilot project, volunteers of BMC and TISS will reach out to nearly 60,000 individuals from as many as 24 slum settlements in this ward. The CLAP initiative focuses on four key areas, which includes – setting up community care centres through community participation at the community level, benefiting from government efforts, raising the standard of living and using the iCall as a means of communication, coordination and communication.

The iCall initiative will counsel citizens suffering from mental stress and fatigue as well as provide ration, employment medical consultation and civic and government information at the local level. The iCall project was conceived in 2012. However, it was limited to psychological counselling only.

The initiative was launched by BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani through video conference. Kakani termed the project as a pioneering initiative as it not only about individual counselling, but is aimed to play a key role in community development. "Amidst the pandemic outbreak, we are trying to raise awareness among people about the importance of masks and hygiene. Hopefully, this initiative will play a key role in bringing behavioural change of people," Kakani stated.

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