Monday, March 11, 2013

Set up child rights body by year-end, state told

Set up child rights body by year-end, state told

Ekatha Ann John, TNN Sep 16, 2012, 04.32AM IST

CHENNAI: Citing increasing instances of child abuse in Tamil Nadu, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the state government to ensure that the child rights body in the state is operational by year-end.
Five months after the state government issued an order to set up of a statutory panel to monitor protection of child rights, the department of social welfare is struggling to find a chairperson and six members for the body despite the deadline having been extended.

This has not gone down well with the NCPCR. "Tamil Nadu has several issues related to children which need immediate attention. We have repeatedly written to the government to form a State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR). Although a government order was issued five months ago to set up a statutory body, we are still waiting to see it implemented," NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha told TOI. "The SCPCR has to be set up by the end of this year or we'll have to take strict action," she warned.
According to the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, every state should have a commission for protection of child rights. The act also mandates the commission to have a chairperson and six members well-versed in the field of child welfare. The commission has to submit an annual report to the state government, as well as special reports when an issue needs immediate attention.
Tamil Nadu constituted a committee comprising the minister of social welfare, chief secretary to the government and the secretary to the department of social welfare and nutritious meal programme to select a chairperson for the SCPCR.
"The SCPCR is constituted. We are looking for an appropriate candidate to head the panel and an announcement will be made soon," a social welfare department source said.
Once set up, the SCPCR will analyse existing laws, policies and practices pertaining to children, present reports on the status of child rights from time to time and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
"I refuse to believe that the government could not find a suitable candidate to head the body. Either something is wrong with civil society for not showing enough interest or there is a serious flaw with the government's criteria for applying," said Vidya Reddy of Tulir, which works for prevention of child sexual abuse.

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