Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

Aug, 16, 2018

[pib] Australia recommences its adoption programme with India

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CARA, Hague Adoption Convention

Mains level: Problem of Child Trafficking


News

Recommencing Adoptions from India

  1. The Government of Australia has decided to recommence the Adoption Programme with India, as per Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.
  2. The adoptions from India had earlier been put on hold by the Government of Australia eight years ago, on the reported charges of trafficking of children for Inter-country adoption by some of the recognized Indian placement agencies (the Adoption agencies mandated to place children in Inter-country adoption at that point of time).

Strict regulations by India pushed the move

  1. The regulation of Inter-country adoptions has been made strict by the Government of India with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017.
  2. The Ministry of Women & Child Development along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have been constantly engaging with Australian Government for recommencement of the Adoption Programme.
  3. The recommencement of the adoption programmes will now enable large number of prospective adoptive parents including those of Indian origin settled in Australia in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from India.

Back2Basics

Hague Adoption Convention

  1. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking.
  2. The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the preeminent organization in the area of private international law. It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.
  3. It is an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuses, and exploitation which sometimes accompanies international adoption.
  4. The Convention has been considered crucial because it provides a formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.
  5. 96 countries including India has signed and ratified this convention. Whereas Nepal, South Korea and Russia are yet to ratify it.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory autonomous body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  2. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  3. CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  4. CARA primarily deals with the adoption of the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
Aug, 08, 2018

Parliament clears Bill for death in rape cases

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018

Mains level: Stringent provisions for prevention of rape


News

Context

  1. A Bill awarding a maximum sentence of death to those convicted for raping girls below 12 years of age was passed by both houses of Parliament.
  2. It replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance that was promulgated in April, following a public outrage over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and the rape of a minor from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

Provisions of the Amendment Act

  1. The amendments have been made to the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
  2. Accordingly, the minimum sentence in cases of rape of women has been increased from seven to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
  3. In cases involving girls below 16 years, the minimum punishment has gone up from 10 to 20 years, which is extendable to life imprisonment.
  4. The law also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The probe has to be completed within two months.
  5. The deadline for completion of trial in all rape cases will also be two months, while a six-month limit has been set for disposal of appeals.
  6. There will be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang-rape of an under-16 girl.
Jul, 27, 2018

Lok Sabha passes Anti-Trafficking Bill

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the bill, NATB.

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

  1. The Bill lays down a stringent punishment of 10 years to life imprisonment for aggravated forms of trafficking, which include buying or selling of persons for the purpose of bonded labour, bearing a child.
  2. It also includes those where chemical substances or hormones are administered, and a survivor acquires life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS.

National Anti-Trafficking Bureau (NATB)

  1. Earlier this year, the Cabinet had approved a proposal for making the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as the nodal authority for probing cases of human trafficking.
  2. The Bill proposes establishing NATB for coordinating, monitoring and surveillance of trafficking cases.
  3. It also provides for a Relief and Rehabilitation Committee and Rehabilitation Fund with an initial allocation of ₹ 10 crore.
  4. It prescribes forfeiture of property used or likely to be used for the commission of an offence.
  5. Trafficking is a borderless crime but jurisdiction issues come in the way of investigation. This Bill provides for the NATB to effectively address this aspect.

Concerns raised over the bills

  1. Some MPs raised questions about the provisions for confiscation of properties which are likely to be misused.
  2. The need for community-based rehabilitation for survivors as had been laid down by a Supreme Court-appointed panel on rehabilitation of sex workers was also emphasized.
  3. Protection for transgender persons under the Bill was also demanded.
  4. MP Shashi Tharoor said trafficking should not be conflated with sex work and the Bill lacks safeguards to ensure that people who voluntarily enter into sex trade are not harassed.
Jul, 19, 2018

WCD ministry set to move cabinet to make child marriages invalid

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of the vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Stats mentioned in the newscard

Mains level: Legal measures against child marriages in India


News

Child Marriages still Valid

  1. The WCD Ministry official said a draft cabinet note has been circulated that proposes to make child marriages “void ab initio” (invalid from the outset).
  2. The proposal of the ministry, if approved, would amend the law that allows child marriages to continue, despite an October 2017 Supreme Court ruling that “sexual intercourse with a minor wife amounts to rape, as under no circumstance can a child below 18 years give consent, express or implied, for sexual intercourse”.
  3. Currently, child marriages are valid in India, but can be annulled if a case is filed in a district court by either of the two contracting parties within two years of becoming an adult, or through a guardian in case of minors.
  4. The ministry seeks to amend section 3 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, under which a child marriage is only voidable at the option of the contracting parties.

Current Scenario of Marriages

  1. The legal age for marriage in India is 18 for a woman and 21 for a man.
  2. According to a study based on Census 2011, there are 2.3 crore child brides in the country.
  3. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 also showed that 26.8 per cent women were married off before they turned 18.
  4. According to the NFHS 2015-16, nearly eight per cent girls in the 15-19 age group had already become mothers or pregnant at the time of the survey.

Vulnerabilities of child brides

  1. The WHO in a report dealing with the issue of child brides, found that though 11 per cent of the births worldwide are among adolescents, they account for 23 per cent of the overall burden of diseases.
  2. Therefore, a child bride is more than doubly prone to health problems than a grown up woman.
Jul, 18, 2018

[pib] Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

 

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CARA, Hague Adoption Convention

Mains level: Problem of Child Trafficking


News

  1.  Emphasizing child safety and adoption, the Minister of Women and Child Development drew the attention to compulsorily register all the child care institutions in the State and link them with CARA for proper monitoring.
  2. This is done in the ambit of rising incidences of Child Trafficking and illegal adoptions.

Central Adoption Resource Authority

  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory autonomous body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  2. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  3. CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  4. CARA primarily deals with the adoption of the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

Back2Basics

Hague Adoption Convention

  1. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking.
  2. The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the preeminent organization in the area of private international law. It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.
  3. It is an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuses, and exploitation which sometimes accompanies international adoption.
  4. The Convention has been considered crucial because it provides a formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.
  5. 96 countries including India has signed and ratified this convention. Whereas Nepal, South Korea and Russia are yet to ratify it.
Jul, 16, 2018

NCPCR moots model for school fees

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NCPCR and its new propositions

Mains level: Reforms in Education System


News

Regulating the Admission Fee

  1. The apex body for child rights, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has prepared guidelines for regulating admission fee levied by private unaided schools.
  2. The Commission has also recommended setting up a district-level body which will consult parents and teachers while determining school fee on a case-by-case basis.
  3. The Commission has studied regulations framed by various States over a period of six months and has included best practices in its model framework.
  4. As per the procedure laid down by the NCPCR, every school will have to submit its fee proposal online by October 31 for the next academic session, following which an algorithm will calculate the minimum and maximum fee a school can charge.

District Level Panel to decide fees

  1. This would be then analysed by the DFRC, which will consult representatives from the school as well as its Parent-Teacher Association before arriving at the final decision.
  2. NCPCR took suo motu cognisance of the problem of exorbitant school fees after it received several complaints on the matter.
  3. The guidelines recommend setting up a District Fee Regulatory Committee (DFRC) in each district.
  4. The body will be headed by the Collector or District Magistrate.

Stringent for private schools

  1. The fee finalised thus will be applicable for three academic years.
  2. If a school fails to submit its proposal, it may face a ban on new admissions for the entire academic session or withdrawal of its formal recognition.
  3. If a school is not satisfied with the DFRC decision, it can appeal to the State Appellate Authority whose decision will be final.

Back2Basics

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  1. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament
  2. NCPCR is a statutory body under the CPCR Act, 2005 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  3. The Commission’s mandate is 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 also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  4. It defines Child as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
Jul, 14, 2018

[op-ed snap] Towards a culture of moral responsibility

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media & social networking sites in internal security challenges

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Mob lynching cases and ways to prevent them (Curated from the article written by Kailash Satyarthi)


Context

Mob Rage- depicting lack of trust in state

  1. Twenty people have been killed by raging mobs, on the suspicion of being child-lifters, across the country in the last few weeks.
  2. The trigger for the fears in these violent incidents was undoubtedly WhatsApp rumours that were unfounded.
  3. Recent incidents of child rape and the sale of newborn by religious factions further fuelled their spark.

What frustrates people more?

  1. Many people fear that their children could be abducted for prostitution, organ trade, forced beggary or any other form of slavery.
  2. Eight children go missing every hour in India to remain untraced and four are sexually abused.
  3. Fears triggered by such insecurities quickly take the form of collective frustration.
  4. Mob action, condemnable no doubt, is the most violent expression of such frustration.

All these incidences raise serious questions

  1. Why are many of these residential religious institutions allowed to run without stringent regulations and checks?
  2. The government has information on 1.4 lakh missing children on one hand and on the other, has a database of three lakh children staying in state and NGO-run children’s homes.
  3. Why can’t it effectively use simple technological solutions like facial recognition software and try to reunite missing children with their families?
  4. Further, what stops us, the largest democracy in the world from passing more stringent laws against child trafficking and child pornography?

This is how we dispense our outrage

  1. Demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators of child rape is the easiest way to show social media heroism.
  2. The government’s response, which includes setting up an enquiry or bringing an ordinance, is equally convenient.

Moral responsibility is an individual decision and moral accountability is a culture.

  1. Mahatma Gandhi called off the Non-Cooperation Movement against the British because some of his supporters turned violent in Chauri Chaura.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. repeatedly called for compassion and hope despite facing vicious racist insults.
  3. More recently, Nelson Mandela adopted the approach of reconciliation to bring about justice, despite being a brutalised victim of apartheid.
  4. A culture of accountability can be created if the society and the state are guided by a moral compass.

Way Forward

  1. However, we never come across an incident where an individual or institution ever took moral responsibility for such a pathetic situation on child safety.
  2. We must develop a culture of moral responsibility and accountability among our institutions, as opposed to the prevalent culture of superficial, convenient responses.
Jul, 12, 2018

North India’s obsession with the male child remains unchanged

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Population & associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: BBBP

Mains level: Increasing concerns due to male child preferences in society and its impacts.


News

Hampering Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

  1. Notwithstanding the Union government’s ambitious BBBP programme, Indians continue to desire a male child, new government data reveals.
  2. Haryana—notorious for female foeticide—followed by Rajasthan and Punjab continue to top the list of offenders seeking to illegally ascertain the gender of the unborn baby.
  3. This practice, health ministry officials point out, manifests in a low child-sex ratio.
  4. At present, India has a child sex ratio (0-6 years) of 919 females per 1,000 males.

Ministry data reveals

  1. According to the latest data available with the ministry of health and family welfare, complaints for illegal communication of the gender in 2017-18 were 158 in Haryana, 112 in Rajasthan and 44 in Punjab.
  2. These have been registered under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
  3. According to the quarterly progress reports (QPRs) submitted by states and Union territories to the Union health ministry, till March 2017, authorities filed 2,371 complaints for various violations before criminal courts; in 2017-18 it was 2,735.

Male Child Preference still rooted

  1. Union health ministry is also taking care of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme now on a pan-India level.
  2. Implementation of the PC-PNDT Act is a part of this programme.
  3. The registration of cases and convictions are also increasing gradually because of the government’s stringent action and zero tolerance towards the issue.

Way Forward

  1. Generally we blame it on the education of parents when they wish for a baby boy, but unfortunately education, status, caste or creed nothing matters.
  2. One has to be mature and enlightened to treat boys and girls equally.

Back2basics

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP)

  1. It is a campaign of the Government of India that aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls. The scheme was launched with an initial funding of ₹100 crore.
  2. It mainly targets the clusters in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Bihar and Delhi.
  3. It aims to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) through a mass campaign across the country targeted at changing societal mindsets & creating awareness about the criticality of the issue.
  4. The Scheme will have focused intervention & multi-sectoral action in 100 districts with low Child Sex Ratio.
  5. This scheme is a joint initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  6. These guidelines cover the key elements of the scheme including enforcement of Pre-Conception & Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, awareness and advocacy campaign and multi-sectoral action in select 100 districts which are low on Child Sex Ration (CSR).
Jul, 11, 2018

MHA seeks cabinet nod for Bill which allows death penalty for rape of minors

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Article 143

Mains level: Rising instances of child abuse and measures to prevent them


News

Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018

  1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sent the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to the Union cabinet for approval, to replace the related Ordinance
  2. Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 allows courts to award death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years of age
  3. Besides providing for death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years, it also proposes to set up a National Registry for Sexual Offenders
  4. For rape with a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for the rest of life
  5. The punishment for gangrape of a girl under 16 years of age will invariably be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict
  6. The draft Bill has provisions to make it difficult for rape accused to get bail

About Ordinances

  1. Ordinances are temporary laws which can be issued by the President when Parliament is not in session
  2. The purpose of Ordinances is to allow governments to take immediate legislative action if circumstances make it necessary to do so at a time when Parliament is not in session
  3. It must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reassembling, failing which it shall cease to operate
  4. Powers related to it are mentioned in Article 143 of the Constitution
Jul, 02, 2018

[pib] Suresh Prabhu launches Mobile App 'ReUnite'

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the app, Bachpan Bachao Andolan

Mains level: Not Much  


News

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation launched a mobile application called ReUnite which helps to track and trace missing and abandoned children in India.

Developers: NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Capgemini Inc.

Working of the app

  1. The app is multi-user where parents and citizens can upload pictures of children, and provide detailed description like name, birth mark, address, report to the police station, search and identify missing kids.
  2. The photographs will not be saved in the mobile phone’s physical memory.
  3. “Amazon Rekognition”, a web facial recognition service, is being used to identify missing kids.
  4. The app is available for both Android and iOS.

About Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA)

  1. BBA is India’s largest movement for the protection of children and works along with law enforcement agencies and policymakers.
  2. Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Laureate is the founder of this NGO.
  3. BBA has played a very important role in the formulation of several laws for the protection of child’s rights.
  4. It began from the Nithari case in 2006 which finally culminated with the Supreme Court passing the landmark judgment in 2013 ordering that FIR has to be lodged in all cases of missing children.
Jun, 22, 2018

National Health Profile exposes inability of agencies to stop foeticide

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Health Profile, National Family Health Survey

Mains level: Contnuing female foeticide in India and reasons behind it


News

Female foeticide continues

  1. The National Health Profile, 2018, exposes the gross inability of law enforcement agencies in India to crack down on female foeticide
  2. NHP 2018 highlights the under-reporting of foeticides (sex-selective and otherwise) in the country
  3. The National Family Health Survey 4 shows that the sex ratio of children born in the last five years before the survey (2010-11 to 2015-16) is just 919 girls per 1,000 births (the ideal ratio is 950)
  4. The abysmally low cases filed for foeticide expose the laxity of the law enforcement system

NHP 2018

  1. National Health Profile is the most comprehensive annual compilation of data on disease incidence, health infrastructure and health finance
  2. The National Health Profile covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with comprehensive information on health infrastructure and human resources in health
Jun, 20, 2018

[op-ed snap] For POCSO Act to effectively protect children, it should go beyond death penalty

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.  

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: POCSO Act and new proposed amendments, Vishakha Guidelines

Mains level:  The editorial highlights the demerits of reactionary lawmaking which should rather be a preventive one.


Context

Amended POCSO Act

  1. India made world news with the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists.
  2. It is unfortunate how it takes tragic incidents such as the rape of minors to remind us that the laws of the country need serious reconsideration.

Reactionary Lawmaking is ineffective

  1. The ineffectiveness of reactionary lawmaking can be seen in the recently proposed amendments in the Criminal Law and POCSO Act, 2012, that were a result of the Unnao and the Kathua cases which shook the country’s conscience.
  2. The last time a major overhaul in the rape law was thought of was as a consequence of the Delhi 2012 rape and murder case.
  3. Before that, the Vishakha incident was a catalyst for the law on sexual harassment.

What are the new Reforms for minors?

The new reforms that have been proposed to the Indian Penal Code, which shall further apply to the POCSO are:

  • If a person rapes a minor girl below the age of 12 years then the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years which, shall be extendable to life imprisonment or death.
  • Previously the punishment for the same was rigorous imprisonment for at 10 years or life imprisonment, along with fine.
  • If a person rapes a girl who is below 16 years, then the punishment is rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years, extendable to life imprisonment.
  • The punishment for this as per the 2013 criminal amendment is rigorous imprisonment, not less than 10 years and which may extend to life imprisonment.
  1. The ordinance has suggested a few more changes, such as time-bound investigations, appeals and prior sanction from the courts for prosecution of government servants.
  2. However, the main change it suggests is in introducing the death penalty for the rape of a minor below the age of 12.

Special Juvenile Police Unit on paper only

  1. A major provision in the POCSO is that of setting up a Special Juvenile Police unit in-charge of investigating cases of child abuse.
  2. This was conceived of as a protection against the police intimidating children, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  3. Yet, no mention of a special juvenile police unit can be found in many cases.
  4. Similarly, with various provisions for the security and the care of the victim under the POCSO — such as the statement of a child should be taken at the residence of a child or a place where he or she is comfortable, by a lady police officer — there’s massive oversight when it comes to enforcement.
  5. In the Kathua case, for instance, the name of the victim was highlighted and essentially advertised on all the media channels even though this is strictly prohibited both under the POCSO Act as well as the IPC under section 228 A.

Death Penalty for Convict is more threat to Victim

  1. The prospect of harsh punishments, such as the death penalty, can, in fact, be a threat to the victim.
  2. NCRB data reveals that in more than 96 per cent of child sex abuse cases, the perpetrator is a close relative or a member of the family. This is why children often find it difficult to confess.
  3. Parents often try to resolve matters of abuse themselves due to the stigma that is associated with such crimes.
  4. Harsher punishments for the perpetrator can quickly become harsher threats for the victim, as the accused may go to any extent to protect themselves like murdering him/her.
  5. Worried for their own safety, children may choose not to provide testimony.

Way Forward

  1. For the POCSO Act to be effective in protecting children who are sexually abused, it should go beyond relying on the death penalty as a deterrent.
  2. It should focus on stricter enforcement of protections for the abused children, punish half-hearted investigations, do away with intimidating procedures and improve the overall sluggishness in the legal system.
  3. Justice is more than a punitive, knee-jerk reaction to the perpetrator of injustice. The child abuse law as it stands has multiple problems, mostly stemming from its focus on the abuser.
  4. It’s important to look at the systemic failures that allow child abuse to happen, prevent children who are abused from speaking up.
  5. Punishment alone is not a complete solution by any means
Jun, 08, 2018

India not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children, National Commission for Protection of Children

Mains level: Changing pattern of society leading to failed marriages and its impact on children


News

Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children

  1. The government is not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children by parents fleeing a bad marriage
  2. The government has long held the view that the decision could lead to harassment of women escaping marital discord or domestic violence
  3. There has been immense pressure from the U.S. on the government to sign the treaty

Special committee says no to legislation

  1. A committee constituted by the Centre to examine legal issues involved in international parental abduction submitted its report in April, opposing a central provision of the Hague Convention
  2. It said that the criterion of habitual residence of the child, which is used to determine whether the child was wrongfully removed by a parent as well as to seek the return of the child to the country of habitual residence, was not in the best interest of the child
  3. It also recommended setting up of a Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority to act as a nodal body to decide on the custody of the child as well as a model law to deal with such disputes
  4. The government is contemplating assigning the National Commission for Protection of Children the responsibility to adjudicate on such cases along with a judicial expert

Back2Basics

Hague treaty on the inter-country abduction of children

  1. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another
  2. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence
  3. The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court
  4. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16
  5. The Convention does not alter any substantive rights
  6. The Convention requires that a court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard
May, 15, 2018

Gender bias caused ‘excess’ deaths of girls under 5: Lancet study

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Population & associated issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Skewed Sex Ratio, U5 Mortality in India

Mains level: Increasing concerns due to male child preferences in society and its impacts


News

Highlights of Lancet Global Health Journal

  1. There have been 2,39,000 “excess deaths” per year of girls under the age of five in India, and 29 out of
    35 States contributed to this mortality, according to a study in the online, open access, peer-reviewed
    journal
  2. That works out to about 2.4 million deaths in a decade, and the additional deaths were found in 90% of
    districts in the country
  3. Around 22% of the overall mortality burden of under-five females is therefore due to gender bias
  4. Excess mortality is the difference between observed and expected mortality rates in both genders

Issue of Concern

  1. The worst affected areas were all rural, agricultural areas with lower levels of education, high population
    densities, low socio-economic development and high levels of fertility
  2. Many deaths of females under five are partly due to unwanted childbearing and subsequent neglect
  3. The sustained fertility decline currently observed in north India is likely to lead to a reduction in
    postnatal discrimination
  4. Unless son preference diminishes, lower fertility, however, might bring about a rise in gender-biased sex selection as was observed 20 years ago in western India
May, 07, 2018

Inter-country child abduction: Central panel questions key principle of Hague Convention

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee

Mains level: Legislations and safeguards in India for child safety and their impact


News

Questioning basic principles of the Hague Convention

  1. A committee set up by the Centre to prepare a report on the issue of inter-country parental child abduction has questioned one of the basic principles of the Hague Convention
  2. The committee has argued that the return of the child to his or her habitual residence may not necessarily be in the best interest of the child
  3. There is immense pressure on India from the U.S. to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee recommendations

  1. The Justice Rajesh Bindal Committee was set up last year to suggest a model legislation to safeguard the interest of the child as well those of the parents when an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) marriage goes sour and one of the parents flees from one country to another with the child
  2. It recommended that returning a child to the place of habitual residence may result in sending the child to an inharmonious set-up as well as overlook the fact that a mother is the primary caregiver of the child
  3. The panel has also prepared a draft law to safeguard the interest of the children, as well as those of the parents, particularly mothers

Proposed legislation

  1. The proposed legislation lays various exceptions under which a child will not be returned to the country of habitual residence which are:
  • the best interest of the child
  • domestic violence or mental or physical cruelty
  • harassment against the parent who fled with the child
  • the parent claiming the return of the child was not exercising the custody rights at the time of removal
  • if there is a grave risk that the child would be exposed to physical or psychological harm

Inter-Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority

  1. The report also requires the setting up of an Inter-Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority
  2. It will be the nodal body to:
  • decide on the custody of the child
  • mediate between the warring parties
  • order the return of the child to the country of habitual residence

Back2Basics

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

  1. Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another
  2. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence
  3. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16
  4. The Convention requires that a court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard
  5. The Convention mandates return of any child who was “habitually resident” in a contracting nation immediately before an action that constitutes a breach of custody or access rights
  6. The Convention provides special rules for admission and consideration of evidence independent of the evidentiary standards set by any member nation
  7. The Convention was concluded 25 October 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983
Apr, 28, 2018

Death for rapists of minors: Centre to move amendment to make POCSO Act gender-neutral

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: POCSO Act, Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code

Mains level: Vulnerability of children against sexual offenses and security measures that can be taken


News

Ensuring equal justice

  1. A formal amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) making death sentence gender neutral is being moved
  2. The Centre will amend the POCSO Act to provide death sentence for rape of boys under the age of 12
  3. There will be same punishment as that for the rape of girls in this age bracket

IPC amendment

  1. The ordinance promulgated for POCSO amendment seeks to amend Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code to enhance the punishment of rape and gangrape of minors under two different age groups – “woman” under 12 years and 16 years
Apr, 23, 2018

President nod to ordinance providing death penalty for rape of girls below 12

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Powers of the president to promulgate ordinance

Mains level: Role of government in ensuring women & child safety


News

Curbing child rapes

  1. President has given his assent to an Ordinance permitting the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years
  2. The Ordinance provides for death sentence, imprisonment for life or a minimum sentence of 20 years for the rape of a child below 12 years

Provisions for speedy trials & conviction

  1. The Ordinance provides that investigation of all cases of rape shall be completed within two months
  2.  A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed
  3. The sentence for the rape of a girl below 16 would be a minimum of 20 years but extendible to life imprisonment, while that for gang- rape of a girl below 16 would be imprisonment for life
Apr, 14, 2018

Child rights body warns media against identification of a minor victim

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

Mains level: Abuse of child rights and ways to ensure proper implementation


News

Violations of rules by media outlets

  1. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued a notice warning media houses
  2. This was done after violations by media outlets of rules that prohibit identification of a minor victim
  3. The offense is punishable with imprisonment of up to six months and/or a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh under the JJ Act 2015

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

  1. Publication of photographs of rape victims or sexually-abused children is prohibited under section 74 (1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
  2. JJ Act 2015 applies to even deceased minors

Back2Basics

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  1. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament
  2. NCPCR is a statutory body under the CPCR Act,2005 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India
  3. The Commission’s Mandate is 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 also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  4. The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group
Mar, 12, 2018

NCRB to collate data on online child sexual abuse

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NCRB, IT Act, CCTNS, Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children

Mains level: Rising threat of cybercrimes against children


News

Data on online child sexual abuse

  1. In a first, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has started collating data on online child sexual abuse in the country
  2. Till now no repository of such crimes was available at the national level

Under-reporting of crimes

  1. The move comes after a parliamentary standing committee on home affairs pulled up officials for not reporting the cases
  2. There was severe under-reporting of crimes related to online child sex abuse in India
  3. NCRB was collecting data on cases registered under Section 67B of IT Act (publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in a sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form, on annual basis)

Separate mechanism for data collection

  1. The panel recommended that starting 2017, NCRB should collate all the instances of online child sex abuse and other cyber crimes against children under a separate category
  2. After the parliamentary panel’s observations, NCRB has started segregating the data where children have been abused online

Other initiatives to control child abuse

  1. The home ministry informed the panel that the Crime & Criminal Tracking Network & System (CCTNS), once operational, will generate details with regard to child victims reported under cyber crimes
  2. The home ministry said that it has approved a Central Sector Project, namely Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children (CCPWC)
  3. It will set up online cybercrime reporting platform, a national level advanced cyber forensic laboratory and provide support to 36 states and Union Territories for police training institutions

Back2Basics

Crime & Criminal Tracking Network & System (CCTNS)

  1. CCTNS is a project under Indian government for creating a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance
  2. The system includes nationwide online tracking system by integrating more than 14,000 police stations across the country
  3. The project is implemented by National Crime Records Bureau
  4. CCTNS aims to integrate all the data and records of crime into a Core Application Software (CAS), which is presently spreading across 29 states and 7 union territories of India
  5. The project also involves training of police personnel and setting up of citizen portal to provide services to citizens
Mar, 06, 2018

India's child marriage numbers drop sharply, driving down global rate, says UNICEF

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNICEF, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals

Mains level: Rising awareness regarding child marriages in India


News

Decline in child marriages 

  1. The proportion of girls getting married at an early age in India has nearly halved in a decade
  2. This has contributed significantly to a global decline in child marriage
  3. This was revealed in the recent report of United Nations children’s agency UNICEF
  4. UNICEF’s conclusions on India came after comparing data from its 2006 and 2016 health survey

Effects of child marriage

  1. Child marriage adds to health, education and abuse risks
  2. It increases the chance of intergenerational poverty

Why drop in the number of child marriages?

  1. Better access to education for women
  2. Increased public awareness on the negative impact of child marriage

Provisions related to child marriage

  1. The legal age of marriage in India is 18 for women and 21 for men
  2. Last year the Supreme Court ruled that sex with an underage wife constituted rape
  3. India’s Prohibition of Child Marriage Act imposes a fine of ₹1,00,000 and two years in prison for parents caught trying to marry off their underage children

Child marriages across the world

  1. UNICEF estimates that 12 million girls a year are married globally at a small age
  2. Under the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals a  target is set to end the practice by 2030

Back2Basics

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

  1. It is a United Nations (UN) programme headquartered in New York City
  2. It provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries
  3. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group
  4. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on the 11th of December 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II
  5. In 1950, UNICEF’s mandate was extended to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere
  6. UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors
  7. UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children
Mar, 03, 2018

What is the Kuthiyottam ritual and why is it in the news?

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Arts & Culture | All syllabus

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kuthiyottam ritual, Pongala festival

Mains level: Violation of women and child rights across religious institutions


News

Complaint registered in connection with the Kuthiyottam ritual

  1. The Kerala State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has registered a suo moto case in connection with the Kuthiyottam ritual
  2. The commission would examine if the ritual, reportedly involving piercing children’s sides with a hook, violated child rights in any manner

What is the Pongala festival?

  1. The Kuthiyottam ritual is usually performed every year during the Pongala festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  2. Pongal, which means ‘to boil over’, is a ritual in which women prepare a pudding made from rice, jaggery, coconut and plantains cooked together, and offer it to the goddess
  3. The ritual can only be performed by women
  4. The Attukal Pongala festival is the largest congregation of women for a festival in the world

What does the Kuthiyottam ritual involve?

  1. Nearly 1,000 young boys undertake a seven-day penance before Pongala day
  2. These boys are said to represent the wounded soldiers of the goddess
  3. The boys have to observe strict discipline and stay inside the temple for seven days
  4. The rigors include sleeping on the floor, strict diet restrictions, and bathing three times a day
  5. They also have to prostrate 1,008 times before the deity
  6. The ritual reportedly involves piercing the child’s side with a small hook and knotting a thread through it to symbolize their bond with the Goddess
Mar, 01, 2018

[op-ed snap] Halving the syllabus, squaring knowledge

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Burgeoning school level curriculum and need for its reduction


Context

Government’s plan to halve NCERT syllabus 

  1. In a bid to provide relief to school students, the NCERT syllabus will be reduced by half from the 2019 academic session
  2. This is being done so that students get time for other activities for their all-round development

Bringing back examinations

  1. Government plans to bring back the system of “detention and examinations” in lower classes
  2. Scrapping of exams was done under the impression that the sight of lighter school bags and an exam-free childhood would miraculously output happier children

View of judiciary on this matter

  1. The Bombay High Court, last June, suggested that mathematics be made an optional for 10th standard students as lots of students were failing them and those in arts programmes didn’t need maths in their programmes

Inference

  1. An enormous workload is the cause of stress among schoolchildren
  2. Halving the syllabus would translate into fewer hours of coursework and cramming

Research related to academic anxiety

  1. There’s a research to show that academic anxiety, the attendant stress, and the volume of course load are disconnected
  2. While schoolwork induced “negative subjective states”, those who spent more time in leisure activities noted feeling happier but also registered “higher academic anxiety and lower scholastic achievement”

Why syllabus would never reduce

  1. The global economy is geared towards knowledge production
  2. New discoveries and the re-interpretation of old knowledge continuously filter their way from research papers to graduate level dissertations to undergraduate curricula and eventually school textbooks

Way forward

  1. In the age of the Web, the ability to memorize facts is a vestigial skill
  2. Given that knowledge is so much more contested and multi-faceted, it stands to reason that school students need to be trained to apply facts to real-world problems
  3. They should be evaluated in their abilities to critique, seek out information and produce knowledge of their own
Feb, 02, 2018

Govt. not for noose for child abusers, rapists and paedophiles

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: POCSO Act

Mains level: Rising cases of sexual assault against children and ways to reduce them


News

Death penalty is not an answer for everything

  1. The Union government has expressed its objection to prescribing the noose (death penalty) for child abusers, rapists and paedophiles
  2. The government was responding to a public interest litigation which asks to change the punishment for a child rapist to the death penalty

Current provisions

  1. The POCSO Act classifies child abuse into sexual harassment, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
  2. The law metes out varying levels of punishment for each crime against children
  3. For child harassment, it is imprisonment of up to three years, five years’ imprisonment for sexual assault and 10 years to life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault

Pendency of POCSO cases

  1. The court has initiated a review of the pendency of cases currently under the POCSO Act
  2. It decided to look into the larger issue of disposal of POCSO cases within a prescribed deadline and strict punishment
  3. The POCSO Act calls for the setting up of special courts to fast-track trial in cases of child assault
Dec, 16, 2017

Crackdown on child porn, rape videos with ISP norms, portal

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hash value, Information Technology Act, 2000

Mains level: Child pornography and measures to deal with this problem


News

Centralised reporting of complaints against child pornography and rape videos

  1. The Union Home Ministry will issue guidelines for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and set up an online portal by next month for centralized reporting of complaints against child pornography and rape videos
  2. The move follows directions from the Supreme Court on setting up such a portal by January 10
  3. The Home Ministry is also expected to write to DGPs/IGs of all states and Union Territories, directing them to ensure reporting of such videos on social media or other online platforms

How will this be done?

  1. Ministry will generate a hash value (a code) of all such videos and child sexual abuse material and share it with the content service provider, which will be used to identify such videos online
  2. A list of 500 keywords used in searching for such videos has also been compiled and will be shared with the ISPs, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft
  3. The Home Ministry has also sanctioned Rs 80 crore for setting up forensic labs in all states and Union Territories for Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Child (CCPWC)

Changes sought in rules by states

  1. The states urged the Centre to bring amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000 and authorise a sub-inspector (SI)-level officer to investigate such cases
  2. At present, only an inspector-level officer can investigate IT-related offences

Suggestions by expert committee

  1. Committee was headed by Ajay Kumar, then additional secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  2. It suggested that the government must ensure that Search Engines other than those already implementing URL blocks for identified child porn/rape and gang rape content initiate similar processes
  3. Internet companies should consider providing support to Indian NGOs to help bring awareness
  4. WhatsApp should make further improvement in their reporting process
  5. This would enable easier reporting of contents in the app while maintaining the integrity of the contents and metadata available on phone at the time of reporting
  6. Content hosting platforms, social media platforms, and search engines should provide links for reporting child porn and rape imagery as a specific category, which must be more prominently displayed on their pages

Solution of the problem

  1. The solution lay in proactively identifying rogue sites by an independent agency which can identify sites that contains child porn and rape and gang rape content and blocking these sites
  2. To prevent the circulation of subject imagery, the government can block any additional sites/applications if they do not remove such contents of their own
Dec, 07, 2017

Courts can turn down child repatriation, says Supreme Court

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & the Judiciary

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hague Convention of “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”

Mains level: Child rights and various provisions related to it


News

Indian courts can deny repatriation of children

  1. A Supreme Court judgment accorded courts in India unlimited discretion to determine which parent should have the custody of minor children involved in international parental child abduction
  2. The verdict holds that Indian courts can decline the relief of repatriation of a child to the parent living abroad even if a foreign court, located in the country from where the child was removed, has already passed orders for the child’s repatriation

Reason behind the judgement

  1. SC bench held that the welfare of the child was the “paramount and predominant” consideration when such a case came up before the court
  2. Also, India was not a signatory to the Hague Convention of “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”
  3. The principle of comity of courts is not to be accorded a yielding primacy or dominance over the welfare and well-being of the child

Back2Basics

Hague Convention of “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”

  1. It is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)
  2. It provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another
  3. The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court
  4. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16
  5. The Convention does not alter any substantive rights
  6. The Convention requires that a court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard
Dec, 05, 2017

Finalising policy against drug abuse, govt. tells SC

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre & States & the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: New Education Policy, Fundamental rights

Mains level: Policies related to children


News

National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction

  1. The Centre informed the Supreme Court that it is finalising a National Policy on Drug Demand Reduction to combat the rising menace of drug and alcohol abuse, especially among children
  2. 18 States have responded to an advisory sent by the Centre to formulate an action plan for combating drug abuse

Survey being conducted

  1. The National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre under the All India Institute of Medical Sciences is conducting a national survey on the extent and pattern of substance use
  2. The December 14, 2016 judgment of the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to complete within six months a national survey and generate a national database on substance abuse

Make it a part of school curriculum

  1. The court had said the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse among children should be made a specific content in the school curriculum under the aegis of New Education Policy proposed by the Centre
  2. The verdict quotes from the Census 2011 that 24 crore children, constituting 24% of the population of the country, are adolescent
  3. They constitute a vulnerable age group for social, educational, moral and physical development
  4. Protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India

About the judgment

  1. The December 2016 judgment was based on a petition filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan highlighting that the fundamental rights of children, especially those suffering from and involved in substance use and abuse, were violated
  2. This was due to non-compliance with the government’s action plan for reduction in drug demand and supply
Nov, 27, 2017

WHO releases guidelines on responding to child sex abuse

Image source

Note4students

 Mains Paper 2: mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: WHO, IAP

Mains level: Child sexual abuse and how to prevent it


News

Recommendations to be followed by frontline healthcare providers

  1. The World Health Organisation has formulated clinical guidelines on responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused
  2. The guidelines put forward recommendations for the frontline health care providers — general practitioners, gynaecologists, paediatricians, nurses and others — who may directly receive a victim of sexual abuse or may identify sexual abuse during the course of diagnosis and treatment

More than just guidelines required

  1. The victims and their families face the worse in terms of investigation and its outcome
  2. The government needs to adopt a policy that will streamline all the other aspects as well

Other such initiatives

  1. In 2010, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) released similar guidelines on ‘recommendations on recognition and response to child abuse and neglect in the Indian setting

Similarity between the two guidelines

  1. Like the IAP guidelines, the new WHO guidelines too focus on the recommendations and good practice suggestions
  2. This is in terms of disclosure made by the child, obtaining medical history, conducting physical examinations and forensic investigations, documenting findings, offering preventive treatment for HIV post exposure, pregnancy prevention, and other sexually transmitted diseases, psychological and mental health interventions

Health impacts of child sexual abuse

  1. The guidelines highlight that child sexual abuse has a short-term as well as long-term mental health impact
  2. These may be lifetime diagnosis of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, externalising symptoms, eating disorders, problems with relationships, sleep disorders and suicidal and self-harm ideation and behaviours
  3. Health consequences of the abuse include the risk of pregnancy, gynaecological disorders such as chronic non-cyclical pelvic pain, menstrual irregularities, painful periods, genital infections and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
Oct, 31, 2017

[op-ed snap] Complete the justice

Image source

Note4students

 Mains Paper 2: mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Maternal, neonatal and infant mortality, National Family and Health Survey-4, National Plan of Action for Children, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Personal Law

Mains level: Law preventing child marriage has been in place since 1929 bu the problem still persists all over India- reasons? measures that can be adopted to curb this menace


Context

  1. Supreme Court recently gave a judgment making sex with a girl between 15 and 18 years even within marriage a criminal offense
  2. In its order, the apex court said that it is removing the distinction between an unmarried and married child

Consequences of the judgment

  1. The immediate consequence of this order will be for proponents of child marriage who take cover under the garb of “tradition” and “belief”
  • They will now face a severe deterrent
  • At last count, there were 23 million child brides, with approximately 30 per cent of marriages in 2016 being child marriages
  • A child bride is often bought by old men looking for sexual and domestic servitude
  • The court has snatched away one of the primary motives for child marriage by making it criminal to have sex with child brides

2. A major consequence of this judgment is also its potential towards reducing India’s burden of maternal and infant mortality

  • There is a close causative link between child marriage and maternal, neonatal and infant mortality along with stunting and malnutrition
  • Early marriage generally leads to early pregnancy
  • A child’s body is not adequately prepared for pregnancy or child birth, and risks to both the mother and infant’s survival are much higher
  • Underweight mothers tend to give birth to underweight babies
  • Nearly 50 percent of newborn deaths are caused due to complications arising out of low birth weight and premature delivery
  • According to the National Family and Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4), nearly 50 per cent pregnant women in the age group 14 to 59 are anemic
  • This has severe consequences for both maternal and infant mortality

Other factors involved

  1. There is a link between early marriage and the physical and mental well being of both mother and infant
  2. The National Plan of Action for Children recognizes that the early marriage of girls is one of the factors for neonatal deaths
  3. Early marriage poses various risks for the survival, health, and development of young girls and to children born to them
  4. Unfortunately it is also used as a means of trafficking

Anomalies in present law

  1. Despite laws against child marriage being in place since 1929, and the legal age of marriage being declared as 18 for girls and 21 for boys under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, there are still 23 million child brides in the country
  2. The law which does not, in fact, ban child marriage outright but says that it is voidable at the option of the contracting party who is a child at the time of marriage
  3. Child marriage is void only in certain circumstances
  4. Child marriages continue to be valid under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Muslim Personal Law

What needs to be done?

  1. Child marriage is deeply entrenched in society and cannot be removed by the law alone
  2. It is time to re-examine the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
  3. Also, to work together to get a definitive position from the government and the legislature to ensure that there is, in fact, a complete legal ban on child marriage
Oct, 27, 2017

Supreme Court asks govt to set up cell to fight child porn

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The article touches an important issue of children rights.


News

Direction from the SC

  1. The SC has asked the Centre to implement the proposal of a high-powered committee to set up a cell within the CBI or the Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with such crimes
  2. The committee was constituted to devise a plan to check circulation of child pornography and sexual violence videos on the Internet
  3. The SC has said it “expected” the government and social media platforms and Internet service providers, to “abide by the recommendations on which there is consensus and to try and implement them at the earliest”

Status report

  1. The bench asked the government to file a status report on the implementation of the recommendations and submit it in a sealed cover before December 11

Some important recommendations of the committee

  1. According to the committee, the solution lay in “proactively identifying rogue sites by an independent agency which can identify sites that contains child porn and rape and gang rape content and blocking these sites”
  2. It added that “to prevent the circulation of subject imagery, government can block any additional sites/applications if they do not remove such contents of their own”
Oct, 12, 2017

Sex with wife below 18 years is rape, rules SC; underlines girl’s right to choose

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Role of women & women’s organization

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indian Penal Code, The Prohibition of Prevention of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), Juvenile Justice Act, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Article 15(3) of the Constitution, Criminal Procedure Code, National Family Health Survey

Mains level: Various aspects related to marital rape and their status in SC and HC’s


News

SC Judgement

  1. The Supreme Court has criminalized sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife who is under 18 years of age
  2. The decision applies to all faiths and is expected to act as a deterrent against child marriage, which, although prohibited under the law, is still prevalent in many parts of the country

Contradictory provisions

  1. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines the offense of rape, has an exception clause that says intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not rape
  2. However, the age of consent is 18 years

What SC said on these?

  1. SC Judges read down this exception arguing that it was inconsistent with other statutes dealing with children such as The Prohibition of Prevention of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), Juvenile Justice Act and The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act — all these have fixed the minimum age of the girl child for sexual relations at eighteen
  2. It was also contrary to the philosophy and ethos of Article 15(3) of the Constitution as well as contrary to Article 21 of the Constitution and our commitments in international conventions and to the philosophy behind some statutes, the bodily integrity of the girl child and her reproductive choice
  3. Child marriages not only violated human rights, it also affects the health of the child
  4. SC also pointed to the need for amending PCMA as a lot of child trafficking is taking place under the garb of marriage including child marriage

Will previous cases of child marriages/rape be reconsidered?

  1. The judgment will have “prospective effect” meaning it will not apply to past cases
  2. Cognizance of such offenses can be taken only in accordance with the provisions of section 198(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code
  3. The provision says that court shall not take cognizance of an offense under Section 376 IPC “if more than one year has elapsed from the date of commission of the offense”

Does this judgment apply to women above 18 years of age also?

  1. The SC bench clarified that it was not making any observation on “marital rape” of a woman who is 18 years of age and above as the issue was not before the court
  2. The question whether marital rape should be criminalized is pending before the Delhi High Court where the Centre has filed an affidavit opposing this saying that doing so may destabilize the institution of marriage apart from being an easy tool for harassing husbands

Statistics related to Child marriages/rape (Can be quoted in Mains)

  1. The National Family Health Survey-4, 2015-2016 found that at the time of carrying out the survey in 2014, amongst women in the age group of 20-24 years, almost 26.8% women were married before they attained the age of 18 years
  2. This means more than one out of 4 marriages was of a girl child
  3. A report based on the 2011 Census reveals a shocking aspect that girls below the age of 18 years are subjected to three times more marital rape as compared to the grown-up women
Sep, 28, 2017

[op-ed snap] For The Children’s Sake

Image result for Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Mains level:  Should India join Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction? Critically comment


News

Context

  1. Child custody disputes that sometimes erupt when a marriage dissolves create challenging and disruptive environments for children
  2. 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a vital international instrument that works to protect children from the harmful effects of international parental child abduction

Why should India  join the Hague convention?

  1. Disputes are resolved within months, allowing parents and children to move on with their lives.
  2. The Convention offers multiple safeguards to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected
  3. This begins with a focus on preventing parents from unilaterally removing children.
  4. The Convention encourages all parties to seek mutually acceptable child custody arrangements in accordance with the laws of the country they are living in.
  5. If a parent unilaterally removes the child to another country, the Hague Convention sets forth a process to resolve the issue.

Criticism

  1. Joining the Convention will force abuse victims to return to their abusers.
    • However, Article 13 of the Convention allows courts to decide not to return abducted children if the return would expose them to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place them in an intolerable situation.
  2. Further, many resources exist for victims of domestic violence in Convention countries.
    • Example, US laws criminalise domestic violence and protect all victims.
    • More than 10,000 American organisations and agencies provide support and services to victims of crime, and these services are available to people regardless of national origin or immigration status.

Back2basics

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

  1. It is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.
  2. The Convention was concluded 25 October 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983.
  3. The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.
  4. Recently, US has urged India to join the ‘Hague Abduction Convention’ to create a more effective response to deal with such cases.
  5. Almost a hundred children born to Indian-American couples are facing an uncertain future due to the trauma of separation of their parents and the complex legal issues involved

 

Nov, 25, 2016

Healthy children build healthy nations I

  1. Source: Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Prize laureate
  2. Issue: India is home to the largest child population in the world. A substantial 41%, around 450 million, are children
  3. But for their education, health and protection a paltry 4% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is being spent
  4. On health, it has been observed that among the general category of patients in public hospitals, about 70% were once child labourers
  5. By letting manufacturers exploit them as inexpensive labour, the government is inheriting an army of sick and invalid persons in the years to come
Nov, 25, 2016

Healthy children build healthy nations II

  1. Future problems: The working children of today are virtually the liabilities of tomorrow
  2. A large portion of the government’s budgetary allocation will have to be accorded for health care and reparations in the foreseeable future
  3. This will have a crippling effect on the development agenda
  4. The health indicators of children in India are among the worst in the world with only 65.3% of the under-five children fully immunised
  5. 80% of the children under three years of age are anaemic and every 3 out of 5 children are malnourished
Nov, 25, 2016

Healthy children build healthy nations III

  1. Suggestions: The Ministry of Health needs to forge stronger partnerships with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Labour, Education, and other agents involved with children
  2. Warranted within the law should be a provision for treatment of poor children at zero cost at all hospitals
  3. Schools should facilitate regular health check-ups, vaccination programmes and provide easy medical access to students
  4. One of the most powerful preventive measures to ensure a long and healthy life for children is immunisation
Oct, 18, 2016

Law Commission suggests changes in govt. draft Bill on child abduction II

  1. According to the Commission: The principles of best interest of the child can be found in the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, which came into force on September 2, 1990
  2. And also the Preamble and object of the Hague Convention, 1980
  3. Previous recommendation: The Law Commission had, in its 218th report, examined the same issues
  4. It had advised the government to sign the Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
Oct, 18, 2016

Law Commission suggests changes in govt. draft Bill on child abduction I

  1. 21st Law Commission in its first report has recommended a series of changes in the draft Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill-2016
  2. The changes included one-year jail term for wrongful retention or removal of a child from the custody of a parent
  3. The Bill has been proposed by the Women and Child Development Ministry.
  4. The Commission is of the opinion that the present Bill needs revision to suitably harmonise its provisions with the Hague Convention
Oct, 14, 2016

Idea behind online portal for child abuse

  1. The children are confounded as they do not know about whom to approach to lodge a complaint
  2. The idea is to reach out to every child victim of sexual abuse and extend help under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and ensure that the abuse does not continue
  3. Facts: It has been found that most offenders were close relatives or acquaintances who repeated the offences over a period of time affecting the psyche of a child for the entire life
  4. In India, about 53% of children surveyed had admitted to facing one or the other form of sexual abuse in a survey conducted in 2007
Oct, 14, 2016

Now, children can report sexual abuse online

  1. Maharashtra Govt has asked schools to circulate information about an online complaint lodging system
  2. It is developed by the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights against child sexual abuse
  3. On the website of www.ncpcr.gov.in, the government has started a POCSO e-box, which could be clicked to lodge a direct complaint about abuse
  4. A child need not explain what she/he went through
  5. The task has been made simple by just clicking one of the pictures on the site, to express the kind of abuse faced
Sep, 14, 2016

Hotline to curb child pornography

  1. The country’s first-ever hotline to curb sexual abuse of children through the Internet and to remove child pornographic content online is set to be unveiled soon
  2. Aarambh Initiative, a network of organisations and individuals working on child protection in the country, has collaborated with the U.K.-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which is an industry watchdog and is the most successful hotline in the world at removing child pornography
  3. The hotline in India will be hosted on aarambhindia.org and will enable users to report child sexual abuse images and videos in a safe and anonymous environment
  4. While the hotline will initially be in English and Hindi, it will be available in 22 regional languages
Sep, 08, 2016

Way ahead: UNICEF

  1. UNICEF urged authorities to end the detention of children migrating or seeking refugee status, abstain from separating families
  2. Also, allow child refugees and migrants access to health services and to promote measure that combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization
  3. It will take up the issue of migration in two late-September meetings on the sidelines of this year’s U.N. General Assembly
  4. Would like to see some clear commitments and practical measures
  5. The burden sharing of this crisis is not fair: the greatest burden is supported by neighboring countries or the poorest countries
  6. Upcoming summits are not enough to solve the problem, but they remain critical
  7. It is a chance to get the world to look at this crisis
Sep, 08, 2016

Child refugees: UNICEF

  1. Children are also increasingly crossing borders on their own
  2. More than 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries last year, tripling 2014’s numbers
  3. Children also account for a disproportionate and growing proportion of people seeking refuge outside their birth countries
  4. Children make up about a third of the world’s population but about half of all refugees
  5. In 2015, about 45 per cent of child refugees under the U.N. refugee agency’s care came from Syria and Afghanistan
Sep, 08, 2016

Nearly 50 million children 'uprooted' worldwide: UNICEF

  1. Uprooted: Forcibly displaced from their home countries by war, violence or persecution
  2. 28 million of these children were displaced by violence and conflict, including 10 million child refugees
  3. There were also one million asylum seekers whose refugee status is pending
  4. Also, approximately 17 million children displaced within their own countries lacking access to humanitarian aid and critical services
  5. Some 20 million other children have left their homes for various reasons including gang violence or extreme poverty
  6. Many are at particular risk of abuse and detention because they have no documentation, have uncertain legal status, and there is no systematic tracking and monitoring of their well-being — children falling through the cracks
May, 26, 2016

Bengal has most cases of missing children

  1. Context: Data released by the National Crime Records Bureau
  2. West Bengal has largest number of missing children in the country
  3. It contributes 21% of total missing children from country
  4. Also 70 per cent of the children who went missing from West Bengal in 2014 were girls & many of the victims were forced into the sex trade
  5. West Bengal is followed by Maharashtra
May, 26, 2016

Rajasthan HC notice to govt. on death of infants

  1. Context: A public interest litigation petition was filed in the Rajasthan High Court on death of infants
  2. Issue: The recent death of 16 newborn babies in Ajmer’s Jawaharlal Nehru Government Hospital
  3. Petitioner claims 165 babies had died in the hospital in the past six months because of negligence
  4. Reason: Negligence of doctors and paramedical staff
  5. The JLN Hospital has appointed a three-member committee to probe the deaths and to conduct ‘death audits’ of infants
Feb, 15, 2016

Central nodal agency to curb human trafficking planned

  1. Context: Union govt.’s campaign to rescue and rehabilitate those trafficked
  2. The news: Union govt has decided to set up a central nodal agency to strengthen the fight against human trafficking
  3. Challenge: Siliguri and N-E India are vulnerable to trafficking due to distress in tea gardens
  4. Initiatives: Operation Smile and Operation Muskaan have rescued/rehabilitated large number of children
  5. Future: An inter-State co-ordination will go a long way in curbing trafficking
Jan, 12, 2016

SC wants separate law to deal with child rape

  1. The SC said that crimes against children was an indication of the abysmal depths to which society is falling.
  2. Rape of infants and children below 10 years was nothing but brutal perversion.
  3. It asked Parliament to enact a separate law providing for harsh punishment.
  4. Increasing instances of rape of children have caused alarm among all sections of society.
  5. This is the first time the SC has distinguished infants and children below 10 from the general description of “minors” given by law to anyone below the age of 18.
Dec, 29, 2015

Ministry of Women and Child Development launches e-office

  1. Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has introduced e-office, an initiative which will help provide efficient services to people by digitizing more than 12,000 files.
  2. It was formally launched on the lines with the spirit of Good Governance initiative of Union Government.
  3. Various modules of this e-office are Knowledge Management System, File Management System, Leave Management System and Tour Management System.
  4. The e-office will result in substantial decrease of processing time which will directly affect the delivery mechanism of the WCD Ministry.
Oct, 26, 2015

To put an end to abuse of children, HC suggests castration of rapists

  1. Madras HC has suggested that the Central govt. consider castration as an additional form of punishment for child sex abusers.
  2. This is in backdrop of recent happenings of horrible blood-curdling gang rapes of children in various parts of India.
  3. The judge said that though the suggestion of castration looks barbaric, barbaric crimes should definitely attract barbaric models of punishment.
Sep, 18, 2015

Operation Vatsalya to trace missing children


 

  1. Operation Vatsalya, an intensive programme organised jointly by the police and Social Justice Departments to trace missing or abandoned children, has been launched in Wayanad district.
  2. The project was launched in the State following the success of Operation Smile, a similar project implemented in Ghaziabad.
  3. It will visit orphanages, children’s homes and other places in the district where missing children from other districts find refuge from October 2 to October 30.
  4. Once such children are identified, they will be produced before the District Child Welfare Committee and efforts will be made to find their parents.
Sep, 16, 2015

Ending child labour by 2025 farcical

  1. Global leaders will this month pledge to end by 2025, as part of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the lives of the poorest.
  2. India has introduced laws to protect children and ensure their schooling, as well as a range of social welfare schemes.
  3. Census data shows there were 4.35 million labourers aged between five and 14 in 2011 against 12.66 million a decade ago.
  4. International Labour Organization (ILO) report puts the number of child workers in India aged between 5-17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally.
  5. More than half are in agriculture, toiling in cotton, sugarcane and rice paddy fields where they are often exposed to pesticides and risk injury from sharp tools and heavy equipment.
  6. Children who help their family or family businesses can work outside school hours, and those in entertainment or sports can work provided it does not affect their education.
  7. The government said the exceptions are aimed at striking a balance between education and India’s socio-economic reality.
  8. Allowing children to help parents in family work also provides skills development for the child and succour for the child as well as the poor parents.
Jun, 26, 2015

Child labour increased by 53% in urban India: CRY Report

  1. Analysis by Child Rights and You (CRY) – There has been a significant increase in working children in the age group of 5-9 years.
  2. In urban areas while the number of working girls rose by 240%, it increased by 154% for working boys.
  3. But why? Attributed to increased migration – seasonal migration for employment as well as trafficking of unaccompanied minors.
Jun, 21, 2015

Child Labour in the garment sector - 70% girls

“It is perturbing and shameful that children’s engagement in informal labour, including in the garment industry, which has also contributed to the rising rate of school drop-outs, continues to be a sad reality in the national capital.”

Over 8000 children are employed in the garments industry in the National Capital alone, and 70% of them are girls.

Jun, 10, 2015

[cd explains] Catchup on the Child Labour Law ammendments

 

May, 18, 2015

[op-ed snap] Right to have a childhood

  1. Case in point – Cabinet’s approval of a set of amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
  2. One of the amendments proposes to ban the employment of children < 14 years in all occupations except family enterprises.
  3. This is in contradiction with Article 21-A & the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
  4. The law potentially opens loopholes that will sustain or even encourage child labour, creating a regulatory nightmare.
  5. ‘Family enterprises’ fall in the unorganised sector.
  6. May adversely affect girl children who are often forced into domestic work.
May, 13, 2015

Cabinet clears changes to Child Labour Act

  1. Children below the age of 14 allowed to work in select ‘non-hazardous’ family enterprises.
  2. The prohibition on child labour would not apply if they were helping the family in fields, forests and home-based work after school hours or during vacations.
  3. Child right activists, however, have opposed the move, saying the proposal could be used to deny education to the girl child.
  4. Family businesses have been given a wide definition and cover any job, profession, or business performed primarily by family members.
Dec, 14, 2014

Contradictions in law - Who is a child?

  1. Different Acts continue to define “child” differently.
  2. While the RTE Act 2009 & CLPRA 2012 define a child as 14-year-old, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 considers this to be 18 years.
  3. CPLRA = Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.
Dec, 14, 2014

New Bill for total ban on child labour

  1. Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment (CLPRA) Bill is pending since December 2012.
  2. The proposed amendments to the Act will for the first time ban employment of children below 14 years in any occupation.
  3. This will bring the law in consistency with the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
  4. The 1986 law prohibits employing children only in certain occupations such as mines, work in hazardous process and with inflammable substances or explosives.
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