New Delhi: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has directed States and union territories to submit data of all children, who have been orphaned or have lost one of their parents to COVID-19.
The NCPR has written to Principal secretaries of states and union territories to upload the information on the Bal Swaraj portal.
The portal, created to digitally monitor and track children in need of care and protection, has been extended for use amid the pandemic under the COVID-Care link.
“Children who have lost both or either of the parent or are found to be without family support in need of care and protection under Section 2(14) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and therefore, it is necessary that the right of such children are upheld and protected,” the Commission said.
It added that the children have to be produced before the Child Welfare Committee under Section 31 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and protected,” the Commission said.
It added that the children have to be produced before the Child Welfare Committee under Section 31 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and procedure under the Act has to be followed for them.
The Commission also listed providing a document for procedure and functions of each child protection authority/officer as given under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and made recommendations for State Governments and the other relevant authorities.
“The Commission has prepared this document after holding consultations with the SCPCRs (State Commissions),” it said.
The second wave of the COVID-19 crisis over the last few months hit the country hard, leaving many children without parents or guardians.
Earlier this week, government sources had informed that at least 577 children across the country had been orphaned after their parents died of COVID-19.
The Non-Institutional Child Care Fund had released Rs 10 lakh to each district for the care of such children.
On May 21, the Ministry of Home Affairs had written a letter to all states and Union Territories (UTs) directing them to take steps for the protection of “vulnerable sections” especially children who lost parents to COVID-19.
Several state governments, including Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab, have extended their support to such children.
Steps taken by governments include free education and monthly stipends.