New Delhi: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has told the Supreme Court that over one lakh children are in need of care and protection as they are either orphaned, lost one of their parents or are abandoned during the Covid-19 pandemic from April last year.
In an additional affidavit filed in the apex court, the NCPCR has given details of the number of children who have lost either their mother or father or both between April 1, 2020 to August 23 this year based on the information uploaded on its ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal by the states and Union Territories.
It said as per the information uploaded on the portal up to August 23, there are total 1,01,032 children who are in need of care and protection.
As per the data, there are 8,161 children who have become orphans, 92,475 have lost either of their parents and 396 have been abandoned.
The affidavit, filed by advocate Swarupama Chaturvedi, said out of the total 1,01,032 children — 52,532 are boys, 48,495 are girls and five are transgender.
It said out of these total children, 10,980 are in the age group of 0-3 years while 16,182 are in age group of 16 to up to 18 years.
The affidavit was filed in the apex court which is hearing a suo motu matter on contagion of COVID-19 in children protection homes.
The matter was heard Thursday by a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose.
Giving state-wise details based on the information uploaded on the portal, the affidavit said in Maharashtra, there are total 15,401 such children out of whom 470 are orphans, 14,925 have lost one parents and six have been abandoned.
It said in Delhi, there are 5,391 such children out of whom 275 have become orphans, 5,101 have lost one parents and 15 are abandoned.
It said these data includes the number of children provided in the affidavits filed in the matter in May, June and July in the top court.
“It is most respectfully submitted that the digital platform is new for many officers uploading the information and NCPCR is collating data manually to put them in the categories in the given table, for example age group etc, therefore, the possibility of human error cannot be ruled out although NCPCR has taken due care in collating data. On few earlier occasions duplication in data upload got identified, which was corrected in due course,” it said.
The affidavit said data analysis by NCPCR regarding uploaded individual child entry is in the process.
“It is humbly submitted that NCPCR is examining the data of each child and informing authorities over telephone to get required information and also sending letters in this regard. It is respectfully submitted that NCPCR has analysed the data of 3284 children on the ‘Bal Swaraj’ Portal of 16 States/ UTs so far, where the child details/ information had been uploaded up to stage-6 and issued letters to the district authorities for removing discrepancies or for completion of incomplete data on the portal,” it said.
The affidavit said that NCPCR has got information that some unknown person is using a fake e-mail id in the name of chairperson of NCPCR and is seeking sensitive and confidential information or data of children.
It said in the e-mail, the person was also found to be using the name of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India as well.
It said State (CID), Cyber Crime Police, Himachal Pradesh has been requested to conduct an inquiry and register an FIR in the matter so as to identify the person who is illegally using the name of government department and claiming himself or herself to be a public servant.
The NCPCR had earlier informed the top court that as many as 30,071 children were orphaned, lost a parent or abandoned mostly due to the pandemic as per the data provided by different states and Union Territories on the ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal till June 5.
The NCPCR had given the break up in its earlier affidavit which said there were 3,621 orphans, 26,176 children who have lost one parent and 274 children who have been abandoned.
The apex court had earlier passed a slew of directions for care and protection of children who have become orphans or have lost one parent or abandoned during the pandemic.