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The Ministry of Women and Child Development developed the “Track Child Portal”, which enables tracking of the missing and found children in all States/UTs including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, North Eastern States and Jharkhand.
- Developed by: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- Objective: Digitally monitor and track the restoration and repatriation of children as per the protocols under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
- As of the latest information, a total of 5175 children have been registered on the Go Home and Re-Unite (GHAR) Portal for repatriation.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development had earlier developed the "Track Child Portal" for tracking missing and found children across all States/UTs.
- The Track Child portal is integrated with the Crime and Criminal Tracking & Network Systems (CCTNS) of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The portal has a "Khoya-Paya" component allowing citizens to report missing or sighted children.
Salient Features of GHAR Portal
- Digital Tracking and Monitoring: Specifically designed for children in the Juvenile Justice system who need repatriation to another Country/State/District.
- Digital Transfer of Cases: Facilitates the digital transfer of cases of children to the concerned Juvenile Justice Board/Child Welfare Committee for swift repatriation.
- Language Support: Allows requests for translators/interpreters/experts when required, directing the appeal to the concerned State Government.
- Monitoring by Authorities: Child Welfare Committees and District Child Protection Officers can digitally monitor the progress of the child's case to ensure proper restoration and rehabilitation.
- Checklist Format: Provides a checklist format to identify children who are challenging to repatriate or are not receiving entitled compensation or other monetary benefits.
- Government Schemes Integration: Offers a list of government-implemented schemes. Child Welfare Committees can link children with these schemes during restoration to strengthen families and keep children within their family environment.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- NCPCR is a statutory body in India established by the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
- It became operational on March 5, 2007, and operates under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.
Mandate and Functions:
- Mandate under CPCR Act, 2005:
- NCPCR operates to ensure that laws, policies, programs, and administrative mechanisms align with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Definition of Child:
- As per the commission's definition, a child includes a person up to the age of 18 years.
- The commission consists of a Chairperson and six members appointed by the Central Government. The Chairperson must be a person of eminence with outstanding work in promoting child welfare. The members are selected based on their eminence, ability, integrity, standing, and experience in various fields related to child rights.
- Some of the fields include education, child health, care, welfare, juvenile justice, child psychology, sociology, and laws relating to children.
- Functions and Powers:
- Examining and reviewing safeguards for child rights and recommending measures for effective implementation.
- Presenting annual reports to the central government on the working of these safeguards.
- Inquiring into violations of child rights and recommending proceedings.
- Addressing issues related to children affected by various situations such as terrorism, violence, disasters, etc.
- Addressing matters related to children in need of special care and protection, including those in conflict with the law or without family.
- Studying international instruments and reviewing policies and programs on child rights.
- Promoting research in the field of child rights and spreading child rights literacy.
- Inspecting facilities and taking remedial action where necessary.
- Inquiring into complaints and taking suo-motu notice of matters related to child rights.
- Analyzing existing laws, policies, and practices to assess compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Undertaking formal investigations based on concerns expressed by children or concerned persons.
- Promoting the respect and consideration of children's views in its work and in the work of government departments.
- The Commission presents reports to the Central Government annually and at other intervals it deems fit, assessing the working of safeguards for child rights.
- Additional Functions:
- Promoting the incorporation of child rights into the school curriculum, training of teachers, and personnel dealing with children.
- Compiling and analyzing data on children.
- Disseminating information about child rights.
- The Commission is not empowered to inquire into matters pending before a State Commission or any other Commission constituted under any existing law.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, came into force on January 15, 2016, replacing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
- The Act aims to align with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and addresses challenges in the previous Act, including delays in adoption processes, high pendency of cases, and accountability of institutions.
- Change in Nomenclature:
- The Act replaces the term 'juvenile' with 'child' or 'child in conflict with law' to remove negative connotations.
- Introduces new definitions such as orphaned, abandoned, surrendered children, and categorizes offences committed by children as petty, serious, and heinous.
- Allows children aged 16-18 to be tried as adults for heinous offences.
- Specifies procedures for observation homes, special homes, and places of safety.
- Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC):
- Defines powers, functions, and responsibilities of JJB and CWC, with clear timelines for inquiries.
- Mandates the setup of JJB and CWC in every district, each having at least one woman member.
- Special Provisions for Heinous Offences:
- Special provisions for children aged 16-18 committing heinous offences.
- Allows the Juvenile Justice Board to transfer such cases to a Children’s Court (Court of Session).
- Provides for the evaluation of the child's rehabilitation by the Children’s Court after the age of 21.
- Introduces a new chapter on Adoption to streamline procedures.
- Grants statutory status to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
- Allows single or divorced individuals to adopt, but single males cannot adopt a girl child.
- Streamlines processes with timelines for both in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- New Offences Against Children:
- Includes new offences not adequately covered under other laws.
- Offences include sale and procurement of children, corporal punishment, use of children by militant groups, and kidnapping.
- Penalties for Offences:
- Prescribes penalties for cruelty against a child, offering narcotics to a child, abduction, or selling a child.
- Mandates reporting and placement before the Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours.
- Penalizes officials not reporting abandoned children within 24 hours.
- Mandates the registration of all Child Care Institutions within six months.
- Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration:
- Provides rehabilitation and social reintegration measures for children in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection.
- Offers various services in institutional care, including education, health, and vocational training.
- Role of State Governments:
- Mandates induction training for JJB and CWC members.
- Requires Chief Judicial Magistrates to review JJB pendency and recommend additional boards.
- Directs Child Welfare Committees to submit quarterly reports to the District Magistrate.
- Imposes penalties for non-registration of Child Care Institutions.
- Institutional Care:
- Specifies Child Care Institutions for children in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection.
- Requires mandatory registration of Child Care Institutions within six months.
- Assigns the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions to monitor implementation.
This initiative reflects the government's commitment to leveraging technology for the welfare and protection of children, ensuring a comprehensive approach to their restoration and rehabilitation.
Q. The NCPCR plays a crucial role in safeguarding and promoting the rights of children in India. Its multifaceted functions encompass not only addressing violations but also proactively promoting awareness, research, and the integration of child rights into various aspects of society. Comment. (250 Words)