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Context: The Women and Child Development Minister stated in the Rajya Sabha that the Union government is taking various steps to ensure the overall development and security of children across India.
- The Women and Child Development Minister said in the Rajya Sabha that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has an online portal called “Baal Swaraj” that allows for real-time monitoring of children living on the streets.
- The Minister mentioned that the Supreme Court has ordered all States and UTs to upload the data of children who are in situations where they are living on the streets.
- To provide services for children in need of care and protection, including the rehabilitation of children living on the streets and children in conflict with the law, the Ministry is implementing a programme called Mission Vatsalya.
About Baal Swaraj Portal:
- It is a website developed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to track children that require care and protection online and use a digital real-time monitoring system.
- The website performs COVID care and CiSS operations;
- COVID care: Children who have lost one or both parents as a result of COVID-19 or for other reasons after March 2020 are taken care of by the COVID Care link.
- CISS: To aid in the rehabilitation of children who are living on the streets.
- The portal offers a platform for experts and groups to offer any assistance to children in need, including open shelters, counselling, medical care, addiction recovery programmes, educational services, volunteer work, and more.
- It was started as part of the Mission Vatsalya programme, which is a centrally sponsored programme.
● The Ministry of Women and Child Development intended to provide ‘integrated benefits to children and women’ under Mission Vatsalya.
● Mission Vatsalya aims at ensuring a healthy and happy childhood for every child.
● ChildLine (1098), the 24-hour toll-free helpline for children in distress, is managed by the Home Affairs Ministry under Mission Vatsalya.
● The objective is to ensure a healthy and happy childhood for every child in India.
● Focus under Mission Vatsalya;
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body established under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
- It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Under the act, a Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
- It aims to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in harmony with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Composition: This commission has a chairperson and six members of which at least two should be women.
- All of them are appointed by the Central Government for 3 years.
- The maximum age to serve in the commission is 65 years for Chairman and 60 years for members.
- The salary and allowances payable to, and other terms and conditions of service of, the Chairperson and Members, shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Functions of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights;
- Examine and review the safeguards provided for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
- Inquire into child rights violations and recommend initiating proceedings in such cases.
- Examine all factors that curb the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disaster, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography and prostitution and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
- Look into the matters relating to the children in need of special care and protection including children in distress, marginalized and disadvantaged children, children without families and children of prisoners and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
- Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodical reviews of existing policies, programmes and other activities on child rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation in the best interest of children.
- Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights.
- Spread child rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means.
- Inspect or cause to be inspected any juvenile's custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution meant for children, under the control of the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority.
- Inquire into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters relating to:
- Deprivation and violation of child rights.
- Non-implementation of laws providing for the protection and development of children.
- Non-compliance with policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships and ensuring the welfare of the children and providing relief to such children.
- Such other functions may consider necessary for the promotion of Child Rights.
- The Commission shall not enquire into any matter pending before a State Commission or any other Commission duly constituted under any law for the time being in force.
- Present an annual report to the Central Government and at such other intervals as the Commission may deem fit.
- Compile and analyze data on children.
Steps taken by the government for child protection
- Enactment of Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2007 to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms agree with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act seeks to cater to their developmental needs through proper care, protection and treatment by adopting a child-friendly approach.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012
- National Policy for Children to help in the implementation of programmes and schemes for children all over the country.
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules for every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years.
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in 2009.
- Restructured Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), 2012.
- Childline and Track Child.
- Multi-sectoral programme to Address Maternal and Child undernutrition.
- Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme.
- Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) was launched in 2013.
- PENCIL portal aims at involving the Centre, State, District, Governments, civil society and the general public in achieving the target of a child labour-free society.
Q. Critically analyze the significance of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in ensuring child safety and child empowerment in India.