Around one % of total children population in Delhi or 50,923 children live on Capital streets, a new census to be released on Friday has revealed. About one-fifth of them are girls. And, the biggest reason for living on the streets was poverty.
There are three types of street children in the Capital as per United Nations definition of street children.
First, who are children of street families and constitute about 36 % of the total street children population. Second, are those working on streets, who are about 26 %. Third, are the ones, who live alone on the streets and they are about 27 %.
The highest number of street children were found in north Delhi followed by south-west district and west Delhi. Only 4 % of them live in NGO run shelters and many of them shift their homes within a month.
Over 90 % of them were from the deprived sections of the society such as dalits, tribals and other backward classes, the census by NGO Save The Children campaign has said. The census was conducted to find out the exact number of street children in the Capital and their problems.
The census found that a majority of the street children were from Bihar (21.2 %), followed by Uttar Pradesh (15.3 %), Rajasthan (6.8 %), Jharkhand (4.1 %), and Madhya Pradesh (3.9 %). “Nearly 92 % of the street children knew about their families and also knew where they hailed from,” the census said. But, only 4 % want to go back to their original homes.
One-third of the children on streets cited poverty and hunger as a reason for living on streets. Many of them were sent to Delhi by parents to do odd jobs in a bid to augment family income and only 9 % landed after running away from their homes because of abuse or curiosity.
The census found that on average a street child earned Rs 2,240 per month and half of them gave some money to their parents. The disturbing trend found was that more than one-fifth of these children were drug addicts and spent half of their earning on purchasing drugs.
Even though living in extreme poverty most of the children wanted education or some skill training to improve their earning. Most feigned ignorance about existing government schemes for them and said were not getting benefit from them.