Founder chairperson of the Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) and former IPS officer, Amod Kanth, is an expert in the field of child rights.
How aware are people about RTE Act provisions?
The first year we set up the DCPCR, we released advertisements in newspapers. In two years, we have got close to 14,000 complaints, of which 10,000 were related to RTE.
We also took suo moto cognisance of news reports and took action. The awareness among people is there and it’s increasing. The awareness about all the Act’s provisions may be lacking, but a lot of it is because of the efforts of civil society organisations.
How has the government dealt with complaints?
The government is not an investigative agency. It is a respondent. The power to investigate and take action lies with the state commissions for protection of child rights, which have not been courageous enough to question the government. State secretaries or officials, who work in the women and child development department, are doubling up as chairpersons of the commissions. This is a clear conflict of interest.
In Delhi, the entire focus has been on nursery admissions? What are the other pressing concerns?
The large number of children (close to 40 million), who don’t go to school, have been completely ignored. This is the biggest violation of the Act. The primary reason behind this is that the government has not assigned any funds for bringing these children to the mainstream.
How can children be brought to schools?
The problem is that nobody is bringing the children to school. The RTE’s implementation mechanism is highly bureaucratic. The volunteers of civil society organisations, who are in touch with these communities and have the expertise to bring these children to school, have not been made a part of the implementation of the law.