Speaker: Mr. Priyank Kanoongo, Chairperson of NCPCR
Facilitator: Mandira Popat, Digital Entrepreneur
Compiled by: Somya Jain
Date: 20th April 2020
Child rights is as important as the fundamental rights for the citizens in India. These rights are made in the concern of every child under the age of 18 years as per the law. Children are the biggest asset of any nation and thus, they require protection from the violation or any ill-treating behaviour that may take place against them. Therefore, to ensure the safety and security of children and to provide them the opportunities to grow, the constitution of India has granted certain rights to them. The entire discussion revolved around the issues and challenges that children are facing while in wake of the lockdown and challenges that they will face after the lockdown. Mr. Priyank addressed most of the questions related to the same and mentioned about many necessary measures that different state governments, commissions and organizations are taking to tackle such issues and create better opportunities for children after the lockdown
The conversation began by discussing the concerns and measures that need to be taken to protect children who are runaways, orphans, abandoned or poor, during the period of lockdown. Mr. Priyank told us that the advisory was issued by them at the very beginning of the lockdown that stated that every child on the street must be provided with a shelter and as Juvenile Justice Act 51 states, Magistrate of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has a power to declare any place as a fit facility for children.
There are many Child Welfare Officers, Juvenile Officers that are working day and night to combat this problem and after the lockdown also necessary steps will be taken for the same so that no child stays or wanders on the street without safety. Seeing the outbreak of this deadly virus and how this has taken toll over so many human lives, medical attention to the children is also being provided in several areas. They are provided with sanitizers, hand washes, medicines, masks etc. to avoid the risks of getting infected by the virus.l The child helpline number of our nation i.e 1098 can be used to report any case or need of a child. Some exclusive facilities are also being made available to the girls.
To overcome the situation, grants must be provided to the child care institutions and there must be orientation programs to spread the awareness and knowledge about maintaining hygienic habits. Migrant workers, laborers and their children are the most affected one as they find it difficult to settle at one place and manage their livelihood during the days of the lockdown. Government is allowing the procurement of ration even without ration cards to protect them from starvation.
The Supreme Court gave a decision to release the children and send them home to their families if they were in child homes because of petty offences and that measures for the safety and security of children who are inside these homes to be taken in all child care institutions. Mr. Priyank stated that NCPCR follows Zero Tolerance Policy in child abuse cases and redressal of a problem happens within 24 hours. He assured that there will be the strict implementation of all the laws in case of any child abuse and trafficking.
Further in the conversation, he clearly opposed the practice of child labor in India. He emphasized that chances of child labor are high where organized sector shows dependence on unorganized sector. Under the Child Labor Act, supply chain and disposal chain must be free from child labor. Spreading awareness, inspection of the industries and strict implementation of the Act are some measures to remove child labor from our country. For the children and their education, our guest showed less resistance towards digital ways of educating and said that this system must not be continued after lockdown gets over. In the sphere of child’s education, the greatest role and responsibility of the teacher is to make studying an easy possibility during the lockdown.
NCPCR is working on a manual for the digital infrastructure so that the connectivity of teachers and students does not get compromised. They are also developing an interactive platform for where they can tell the importance of social distancing and hygienic habits to the children. Whereas the urban sector has the advantage of the internet services, rural areas and other remote areas can not go for online classes and learning. Keeping this in mind, the government is trying to make all the necessary services available to remove all the obstacles in the direction of a child and education.
He also advised all the parents to spend more and more time with their children and that being with family and staying inside home is the biggest protection for all the children at this time and spending time with family will help a child develop many precious values. At last, Mr. Priyank enlightened us with the four important points to be keep in mind to fight COVID-19 and they were:
Those steps include:
Key Highlights of the Conversation:
- Measures to protect children during and post lockdown
- Assurance of the availability of medical assistance, shelter homes and ration
- Zero Tolerance Policy of NCR for child abuse cases
- Working mechanisms of committees, institutions, NGOs etc. towards child care
- Digital and physical infrastructure of the education system
- Awareness about the ongoing situations and adoption of hygienic habits like washing hands, using sanitizers, wearing masks.