Lackadaisical attitude of some states making it difficult to rehabilitate street kids: NCPCR

NEW DELHI, Mar 27:
Concerned over an estimated 15-20 lakh children living on streets in India, NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo said lackadaisical attitude of some state governments is making it difficult to identify and rehabilitate them, even as nearly 20,000 of such children have been identified through a web portal and are being rehabilitated.
Speaking to PTI on the issue, he noted that web portal ‘Bal Swaraj’ has been made for street children where their information can be uploaded and they can be tracked, and work can be done towards their rehabilitation.
Kanoongo said till now, about 20,000 street children have been identified via the portal and are in the process of getting rehabilitated.
The portal was conceptualised in 2019 for the rehabilitation of street children, but was also used for children affected by COVID-19.
“In the last three-four months now, we have used the portal for identification and rehabilitation of street children too,” he said.
The senior official, however, rued that states are not working effectively towards identifying and rehabilitating such children.
“States are not working as effectively as they must be. We want it to be done as soon as possible. States are being pushed to do it immediately. Madhya Pradesh and some areas of West Bengal have done good work for their rehabilitation, but Delhi and Maharashtra are not doing anything,” he said.
Kanoongo also said that due to the inaction of the Delhi government, only 1,800 children have been brought into the process, while two years back, we were told that 73,000 children were living on Delhi streets.
He estimated that around 15-20 lakh children are living on the streets of India presently.
“Among the street children, we basically found three types of children — first who ran away from their homes or have been abandoned and are living on the streets alone; second those who are staying with their families in streets and their whole family hussles on the streets; and the third category is those who live in nearby slums, so in day time, they are on streets and at night, they go to their homes,” he said.
He said the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has chalked out a rehabilitation plan for all of these three categories of children.
“Rehabilitation in all these categories is different. For instance, children who are alone are kept in children homes; those who are with families in slums are restored with their families and linked to welfare schemes; and those children living on streets with their families, they are mostly those who have moved from villages to cities to look for better opportunities so we try to repatriate them back to their villages and link them to welfare schemes for sustenance,” he said. (PTI)
Kanoongo said six stages of end-to-end rehabilitation has been chalked out by the apex child rights body. (PTI)