The abuse that children begging on Delhi roads face during night may be over, to some extent, as soon they would have a home of their own.
Delhi would be one of the first states in the country to be covered under Integrated Child Protection Scheme of the Central government, initiated from the current financial year. The Women and Child Development Ministry has selected Delhi along with three other states to launch the scheme from mid-this year.
Finance Minister P Chidambaran allocated Rs 95 crore for the scheme in is first year and WCD officials expected the allocation to rise to Rs 2,000 crore by 2012, the end of the 11th five-year plan. "One state from northeast and one each from north and south India and Delhi would be covered," a ministry official told Hindustan Times.
The ministry expects the allocation to be made to Delhi by middle of 2007 once the Expenditure Finance Committee approves its proposal. Once that happens, the government estimates that Delhi would get a sizeable share from Rs 95 crore because of its 5 lakh street children, highest for any city in India.
Although not all the children would be covered the government intends to bring street children in central Delhi under the ambit of the scheme, that provides both financial and institutional protection to children. "There would be child protection officers in each district to look and investigate into complaints of violation of child rights," a ministry official said.
These officers would have powers to investigate the allegations of child right abuse by government agencies like police and social welfare departments. The mandate of these officers cover children, whose parents cannot take care of them, child prostitutes, destitute or abandoned children, children suffering with HIV/AIDS and children who are victims of crime.
The government will also allocate funds for construction of the "child shelter homes" having facilities for education and games for children. Explaining the idea behind these homes, a senior ministry official said, children would be welcome in these homes around the clock but no one would be forced to come here. The homes would be run by the NGOs with the help of WCD department of the Delhi government.
The first scheme of its kind in the country has been built with an idea to provide children a family environment for better future, the official said.