Prelims Syllabus : Policies, schemes, Acts and amendments Mains Syllabus : GS 2: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- The Centre has drafted child protection policy, prepared on the prodding of the Supreme Court in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter abuse case, mainly to curb the instances of abuse of minors in shelter homes and child care institutions.
- The drafted policy has been placed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on their website and they have invited comments from stakeholders until January 4.
- This will be the first policy dedicated to the protection of children, an area that until now was only a part of the broader National Child Policy, 2013.
- The Supreme Court had earlier directed the CBI to investigate allegations involving 17 shelter homes for children, destitute women, beggars and senior citizens in Bihar following the case of sexual abuse of more than 30 girls in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur in the State.
- The Supreme Court had also asked the Centre to consider framing a national policy on protection of children.
Important features of the policy:
- As per the draft, the policy will apply to “all institutions, and organisations (including corporate and media houses), government or private sector”.
- The draft policy recommends that all organisations must have a code of conduct based on “zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation”.
- It requires organisations to lay down that employees don’t use language or behaviour that is “inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate”.
- Institutions should also designate a staff member to ensure that procedures are in place to ensure the protection of children as well as to report any abuse. Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098, police or a child welfare committee.
Concerns in the policy:
- Unlike the National Child Policy, 2013, the latest document doesn’t talk about children who may need additional special protection measures: including those affected by migration, communal or sectarian violence, children forced into begging or in conflict with the law, and those infected with HIV/AIDS.
- It also doesn’t talk about the role of the state for ensuring the protection of child rights or addressing local grievances.
- There is no clear definition on what exactly child protection means to everyone and also no clear definition on what constitutes institutions and organisations.