From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Desh Ke Mentor Programme, NCPCR
Mains level : Child rights issue
A controversy recently broke out after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) recommended that the Delhi government suspend its flagship ‘Desh ke Mentor’ programme.
What is the Desh Ke Mentor Programme?
- The programme was launched in October 2021 and is aimed at connecting students in classes IX to XII with voluntary mentors.
- People between the ages of 18 and 35 can sign up to be mentors through an app created by a team at the Delhi Technological University and will be connected with students based on mutual interests.
- The mentorship entails regular phone calls for a minimum of two months, which can optionally be carried on for another four months.
- The idea is for the young mentors to guide students through higher education and career options, preparation for higher education entrance exams, and dealing with the pressure of it all.
How is a person selected to be a mentor?
- The registration process takes place on the Desh ke Mentor app.
- The volunteer has to fill in information about themselves such as their date of birth, education qualification, profession, organisation they work with and so on.
- However, it is optional for them to upload any proof of identity.
- Once the registration is complete, the mentor is connected to a set of children of the same gender as themselves whose interests align with theirs.
- Students have to take parental consent before becoming a part of the programme.
What are the concerns raised by the NCPCR regarding this process?
- It has stated that assigning children to a mentor of the same gender as them does not necessarily assure their safety from abuse.
- It has also expressed concern over the lack of police verification of the mentors.
- It has a psychometric test which has not been scrutinized by professional practising experts.
- It has also stated that limiting interactions to phone calls also does not ensure the safety of children since “child-related crime can be initiated through phone calls as well.”
Back2Basics: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- The NCPCR is an Indian statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
- It works under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and began operational on 5 March 2007.
- It works to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- As defined by the commission, a child includes a person up to the age of 18 years.
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