Street children may soon get birth certificates, Aadhaar cards – The Hindu

Latha Rajinikanth, founder of Dayaa Foundation, felicitating Union Minster for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

Maneka Gandhi calls for creating awareness of e-box for registering complaints

Street children may soon get birth certificates and Aadhaar cards as the Union Ministry for Women and Child Development is planning to start an initiative on this, said Union Minister Maneka Gandhi.

Ms. Gandhi was speaking at the launch of ‘Abhayam’, a project by Dayaa Foundation, an NGO working for children, which seeks to form a citizen’s platform for the safety, rescue and rehabilitation of street children. Taking on board a remark by John Wroe, CEO of Street Children United, U.K., about the difficulties faced by street children in obtaining passports as they did not have birth certificates, Ms. Gandhi said the Ministry would work on this. Another initiative highlighted by Ms. Gandhi was the e-box, an online complaints box which the children could use to register complaints anonymously, about any sort of inappropriate touching, molestation, or abuse. “Principals should talk about this in schools and street children too should be taught to send in their complaints,” she said.

An initiative to catch traffickers and rescue children at railway stations, which included posters on trains with numbers that any person can call on suspicion of trafficking, and CCTVs at 20 major stations, was also highlighted.

Project Abhayam, said Latha Rajinikanth, founder, Dayaa Foundation, sought to create a citizen’s platform in the form of a mass movement to fight for the freedom of children. “Whether it is strife, war or peril, the victims are always children. The need of the hour is to have them protected and looked after with love and care. They have our support. Let no child be snatched away by the cruel hands of society,” she said.

N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Ltd, said India should be ashamed of itself for not resolving the problem of safety and health of its children over several decades. “There are an estimated 40,000 street children in Chennai and this is unacceptable.” He said media organisations could do much more by turning the focus on what had gone wrong.

G. Thilakavathi, retired IPS officer, spoke about the need to pay attention to juvenile delinquents too.

Recommendations made by Ms. Latha Rajinikanth to the Minister included making available tracking devices, listing of all children living on platforms and in homes, installing CCTV cameras at busy junctions/zones, stepping up night patrolling, and setting up of a special police wing to handle cases related to children.

Team India presented Rio Resolution of Street Children to Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Hon'ble Minister for Women and Child Development, passed by the children at the Street Child Games Congress in Rio, Brazil, March 2016 seeking Right to Identity, Right to Protection and Right to Education for Street Children. John Wroe, Latha Rajinikanth, N. Ram, N. Paul Sunder Singh and Nagaraj Nagoji were present.

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