Panchkula, March 16: Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Sh. Rattan Lal Kataria
has submitted a statement in the Parliament with reference to the schemes working for the safety and welfare of child beggars. The statement was submitted in reply to the questions raised by multiple other member counterparts. Mr. Kataria also responded to questions pertaining to the allocation of funds to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (State/Organisation-wise) working for helpless women and children during the last five years.
Mr. Kataria pointed out that as per the Census 2011, the total number of beggars, vagrants, etc. in India is 4,13,670 and the total number of child beggars, vagrants, etc. below 15 years of age are 45,296. Highlighting the efforts being made by the Government in improving their standard of living, he stated that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has identified ten cities namely Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, and Patna for undertaking pilot project on ‘Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Persons engaged in the act of Begging’ to provide the whole range of services including awareness generation, identification, rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counseling skill development, sustainable settlement and education to children engaged in Begging/ Children of Persons engaged in begging.
Mr. Kataria further elucidated that the Ministry of Women and Child Development administers the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act) which is the primary law for children in the country. The Act, he explained, provides a security net of service delivery structures along with measures for institutional and non-institutional care, to ensure the comprehensive well-being of children in distress situations and the primary responsibility of execution of the Act rests with the States/UTs.
Mr. Kataria went on to explain that the Ministry of Women and Child Development implements a centrally sponsored scheme i.e. Child Protection Services (CPS) under the umbrella Integrated Child Development Services scheme, for supporting children in difficult circumstances including child beggars and destitute children. Under the scheme, institutional care is provided through Child Care Institutions (CCIs), as a rehabilitative measure. The programs and activities in CCIs inter-alia include age-appropriate education, access to vocational training, recreation, health care, counseling, etc. The scheme supports 24×7 emergency outreach/helpline service for children in distress conditions and the service is accessible through a dedicated toll-free number, 1098 from anywhere in India.
The scheme inter-alia has provided financial assistance for setting up of CCIs to the States/UTs either by themselves or in association with voluntary organizations. Mr. Kataria stated that funds worth Rs. 2952.08 crores have been released during the last five years (i.e. F.Y., 2015-16 to 2019-20) to the States/ UTs under CPS.