New Delhi: Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi on Friday pitched for “zero tolerance” for child begging.
“We have decided to come down heavily on children begging. I am planning a meeting with the Commissioner of Police and say zero tolerance (sic). I am not against begging but there should be no children on the street for begging,” Gandhi said at a conclave hosted by FICCI Ladies Organisation.
She said she will also meet the Delhi Police Commissioner to curb child begging in the national capital. The national commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR)—the apex body for children under the women and child development ministry—had recently released its ‘standard operating procedure (SOP) for children in street situations’.
The SOP lays down a sequence of actions to be taken for restoration and rehabilitation of street children. It has assigned NGO ‘Childline’ to be “the first point of contact” for rescuing street children.
Children recovered by the NGO will next be produced before a child welfare committee (CWC). Thereafter, the CWC will pass an interim order for short-term care and will send the child to the nearest child care institute (CCI) or a “fit person” until his or her family can be contacted.
The SOP also aims to provide these children with an Aadhaar card, a bank account, health insurance as well as a sponsorship scheme to help meet educational, nutritional and medical needs. Save the Children, an NGO which helped NCPCR formulate these guidelines, had also announced last month that they plan to provide Aadhaar cards to all 50,000 street children in Delhi in the next six months.