19K children live on India’s streets, 882 fend for themselves: Govt data
As per the NCPCR, these kids survive on the streets by working, begging, selling items/goods, performing on the streets and other means.
Published: 13th February 2023 08:05 AM | Last Updated: 13th February 2023 01:50 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: As many as 882 children in India are living alone on the streets without any support, and the majority of them are in Uttar Pradesh, as per data from the Bal Swaraj portal, which enumerates children living on the streets in the country.
As per the data, 19,546 kids live on the streets – with or without parents, most of them in Maharashtra (5,153). It is followed by Gujarat (1,990), Delhi (1,853), Tamil Nadu (1,719), MP (1,491), Karnataka (1,220) and UP (1,038), said the Bal Swaraj portal, devised for children in need of care by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
It said that out of the 19,546 street children, 10,401 are living with their families on the streets, while 8,263 are staying on the roads during the day and are back home at night with their families in nearby slums.
In UP (270), most children live alone on streets without any parental anchor or family support system, either on pavements or public places. It is followed by Tamil Nadu (124), Karnataka (105), Delhi (61), MP (45), and Maharashtra (39).
As per the NCPCR, these kids survive on the streets by working, begging, selling items/goods, performing on the streets and other means. They are forced to fend for themselves as they are either abandoned over disability, orphaned, or engaged in child labour.
No support system
- It said that out of the 19,546 street children, 10,401 are living with their families on the streets
- 8,263 children stay on the streets during the day and are back home at night with their families in nearby slums
- Children mainly migrate to cities with their families to earn their livelihood
- Maharashtra (1,266) and Delhi (1,203) - are two states that report the maximum number of children out and about on the streets during the day but back to their families at night
- 882 children living alone on the streets without any support, the majority of them in UP
- 5,153 Children living on streets in Maharashtra
Officials and organisations working with street children said the figure on the online portal doesn’t give the number of children living in street situations in the country. This could be because states and union territories – which were directed by the Supreme Court to upload the data on the portal - may not be sharing the real-time figure. Also, these children and their families, known as the “floating population” may be moving from one city to another and, thus, difficult to be monitored.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, WCD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani said the ministry is implementing a centrally sponsored scheme named Mission Vatsalya through the state and union territories on the predefined cost-sharing pattern for delivering services for children in difficult circumstances, including children in need of care and protection.
Under the scheme, Child Care Institutions (CCIs) support age-appropriate education, and access to vocational training, recreation, health care and counselling is provided to them.
According to Abhijeet Nirmal, Deputy Director of Child Protection, Bal Raksha Bharat, globally known as Save the Children, there are many reasons behind thousands of children and families living on the streets.
“..but the main challenge is how to withdraw them from the street to a safe situation and prevent vulnerable families and children from coming onto the street in the era of urbanisation and climate change,” Nirmal told The New Indian Express.
The NCPCR has come up with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP2.0) for the care and protection of children in street situations in which a child is to be treated as part of the family, strengthening families by linking them with various social protection schemes and also in creating a better legal and operational ecosystem for them so that they don’t remain in vulnerable conditions on the street.
“The effective implementation of SOP 2.0 will help in the rehabilitation of children and families living in street situations,” Nirmal said, adding that it is critical to ensure that the online portal is effectively used by more individuals, professionals and organisations so that effective care and protection of children in street situations can be provided.