About 20,000 street children have been identified across the country till now and are in the process of getting rehabilitated, according to NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo.
Speaking to PTI on the situation of street children in India, he said a 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.
He said till now, about 20,000 street children have been identified who are in the process of getting rehabilitated.
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, like 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.
Kanoongo said six stages of end-to-end rehabilitation has been chalked out by the apex child rights body.
“First, the child is rescued and presented in front of chid welfare committee (CWC), preparation of social investigation report of child is done, thirdly an individual care plan is made, then committee would give recommendation of rehabilitation that where the child would go, five is linking the child with welfare schemes and then sixth is following up on child,” he said.
The matter of identification and rehabilitation of street children is being heard in the Supreme Court, which in the last hearing had directed states and Union territories (UTs) to implement the suggestions for formulation of rehabilitation policy for street children, and said it should not remain on paper.
The next hearing on the matter is slated for Monday.