Updated: May 14, 2021 7:38:51 pm
Citing expert predictions that a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic would affect children more, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has urged the state government to ramp up childcare infrastructure across all 30 districts.
“An estimated 36 to 40 per cent of the entire population in Karnataka are aged 18 or below. With minimal chances of people aged below 18 getting inoculated before October, they will continue to be the most vulnerable among the population then,” KSPCPR Chairman Fr Anthony Sebastian told Indianexpress.com.
He added, “The government should hence ramp up all possible infrastructure to ensure that the healthcare system does not get overburdened then. It is always better to prepare much early in advance to face such situations.”
Further, citing inputs from NGOs, civil society organisations, and other key stakeholders of child rights in the state, the Commission has also written to the state government recommending the formation of district-level task forces involving pediatricians to look into the matter.
The letter, addressed to Chief Secretary P Ravikumar, has noted the need for proper infrastructure to be in place to ensure treatment to children, including “reservation of beds for children in both government and private hospitals.” In addition to this, the panel has also urged the government to form supervisory committees to attend to children being orphaned after both parents succumbing to Covid-19.
“Being in lockdown, monitoring cases to ensure child rights are protected has become tedious. Chances of instances where illegal adoption, child trafficking, child labour and others are also on the rise,” it mentioned.
Fr Sebastian opined that supervisory committees should be formed at various levels by roping in officers of Women and Child, Education, Social Welfare, Health and Family Welfare Departments, apart from including the police, NGOs, and CSOs, to oversee the situation.
To queries on how the panel is looking into instances people posting child adoption requests on social media, Fr Sebastian said that sharing details of orphaned children on a public platform should be avoided. “Even if such actions are done with goodwill, it might not lead to a proper conclusion unless government agencies are involved in the process. As per the law, each child in such a situation should be produced before CWCs (child welfare committees) and a follow the thorough legal process mandated to complete an adoption,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the state government, recently, appointed IAS officer K P Mohan Raj —Inspector General of Registration and Commissioner of Stamps — as the nodal officer to identify such children. As per an order issued by N Manjunatha Prasad, member secretary of the executive committee of the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, the nodal officer has also been directed to make immediate and long-term arrangements to ensure care to such children.
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