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List of Contents
Laws and Initiatives for Welfare Orphaned Children
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.
Synopsis: This article provides information on the available legal means to report about orphaned children and protections available under the state.
2nd wave of the pandemic has taken the lives of many young mothers and fathers. It has left many children orphaned and vulnerable. It is usual to see requests to adopt a child on social media.
Some NGOs are helping such children. However, legal procedures need to be followed in adopting such children. It ensures the safety and security of children,
What are the available options to help orphaned or abandoned children?
There are many legal options available for an individual to help the orphaned children who need care and protection.
- Option 1, Toll free Childline number 1098: Managed by the Women and Child Development department’s nodal agency, the Childline India Foundation.
- Option2, informing the concerned District protection officer. Contact details can be found on the National Tracking System for Missing and Vulnerable Children portal. It is maintained by the Women and Child Development department.
- Option3: The third alternative is to approach the nearest police station or its child welfare police officer. Such officers are specially trained to exclusively deal with children, either victims or juveniles.
- Option 4: Calling the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS). It is a pan-India single number (112) based emergency response system for citizens in emergencies.
How the state provides support for children who are in need of care?
- Once an outreach agency recovers the orphaned child, they need to produce the child within 24 hours before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the district.
- The CWC, after an inquiry, decides whether to send the child to a children’s home or a fit facility or fit person.
- If the child is below six years, he or she shall be placed in a specialized adoption agency.
- It is the duty of the state to take care of all such children who are in need of care and protection, till they turn 18 years.
- Once a child is declared legally free for adoption by the CWC, adoption can be done either by Indian prospective adoptive parents or non-resident Indians or foreigners.
What are the safeguards provided for orphaned children by the state?
- One, an orphan child kept by an unlawful authority is punishable. According to the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, the father, and in his absence the mother, is the natural guardian. Not even a close relative is allowed to look after the child without authorization.
- Two, In Sampurna Behrua vs Union of India (2018), the Supreme Court of India directed States and Union Territories to ensure that all child care institutions are to be registered.
- Hence, according to The Juvenile Justice Act, an NGO, which is not registered, cannot house children in need of care and protection.
- Three, the Supreme Court in Bachpan Bachao Andolan vs Union of India directed all Directors General of Police, to register a first information report as a case of trafficking or abduction in every case of a missing child.
- Further, it mandated at least one police officer not below the rank of assistant sub-inspector in each police station to undergo training. So that they can deal with children in conflict with the law and in need of care and protection.
- Four, each district should have its special juvenile police unit, headed by an officer, not below the rank of a DSP.
- Five, The Supreme Court in Re: Exploitation of children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu (2017), specifically asked the National Police Academy, Hyderabad, and police training academies in every State to prepare training courses on the JJA and provide regular training to police officers in terms of sensitization.
- Six, recently The NCPCR requested the state to intimate about any information received about any, abandoned or orphaned child to it by email or over the telephone.
Children are an important national asset. Their wellbeing is directly related to the growth of the nation. Also, DPSP (Article 39) of the Constitution prohibits children from being abused. Hence, it is the duty of the state to provided necessities to the children in need of care.
Bad Policy Making Aggravated the Pandemic Disaster in India
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Synopsis: Bad Policy-Making by the government during and before pandemic aggravated the Pandemic Disaster in India. Adherence to Key Principles of Healthcare, Economy, Data integrity, and Science would have limited the impact of the Pandemic in India.
What are the key principles forgone by the government?
- First, prioritizing universal health coverage instead of strengthening Public health facilities
- India prioritized insurance coverage after 2014, for example, Ayushman Bharat. Whereas, international experience showed strengthening public health care is the right way.
- For instance,
- UK’s National Health Service Act revolutionized health care in the United Kingdom by delinking it from a person’s income.
- Kerala’s heavy investment in public health care in the 1950s increased the capability of Human resources.
- Even, the high-level expert group appointed by the Planning Commission concluded that progressive strengthening of public facilities is the only way to achieve universal health care.
- Second, discarding the principles of Science worsened the Pandemic situation. There are instances when Science was least prioritized by the government,
- Government representatives supporting Patanjali’s Ayurvedic cure for COVID-19.
- Ignoring the Suggestions of public health expert or Scientists in Public policymaking related to Lockdown, organizing Kumbh mela, Election rallies
- Third, Government’s apathy towards prioritising Data integrity. For instance,
- One, evasion of Economic data: For example, Maximizing GDP numbers, employment statistics changing baselines, withholding periodic labor force surveys.
- Two, under-reporting of Covid-19 infection and Deaths.
- Fourth, negligence of Good economics principles. For instance, relying on Freebies rather than prioritizing sound Welfare economics like Institutionalising social security net.
- According to the latest report by the Azim Premji University, 230 million Indians slipped below the poverty line during the pandemic.
- Providing Social security net to the BPL population would have limited the Pandemic disaster in India.
- Even the global experience from US, UK, Germany, and China proved the same. Yet, India discarded the global experience.
Adherence to basic scientific and rational principles, helped India to effectively fight against smallpox and polio. This needs to be replicated now.
Issues With Technocratic Approach to Vaccination Drive
Source-The Indian Express
Syllabus- GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.
Synopsis – The current technocratic-based vaccination drive in India excludes the digitally illiterate population of the country. It is leading to substantial biases and inequality.
- The GOI launched CoWin portal to digitize the vaccination drive and made online registration mandatory for vaccination booking [18-44 age groups].
- The approach has resulted in a digital divide among the rural population. Moreover, it also brought several other issues, such as vaccine exclusion and lack of privacy, with it.
Key issues with the current technocratic based vaccination drive
- Lack of technical literacy –With no internet access and understanding of CoWin portal functions, the majority of India’s rural population is left out of COVID vaccination efforts.
- Digital divide- Only 34.60 percent of the rural population has access to the internet.
- Lesser registration through CoWin portal- According to CoWin data, only 2,52,96,511 of the 14,42,10,652 vaccine registrations [for 45-plus age group] were done through CoWin.
- The CoWin website is contrary to-
- The Supreme Court’s right to privacy judgment
- Also, the GOI’s departmental guidelines for official websites states that while collecting data, government websites “must incorporate a prominently displayed privacy statement…”.
- The CoWin website is contrary to-
- Use of Facial recognition technologies FRT also poses a threat to privacy – The CEO of the National Health Authority said that Aadhaar-based FRT will soon replace biometric fingerprint or iris scan machines at Covid-19 vaccination centres. It will avoid infections.
- The FRT will increase the risk of exclusion and discriminatory outcomes. Moreover, FRT is not an accurate more of identification, thus affecting the proper dispensation of the shots.
The technocratic approach is prioritizing data collection and efficiency over vaccine equity. It disregards the experience of public healthcare and digital rights experts. The present deployment of CoWin, is undermining the right to health, instead of augmenting it.