Since April 1, 2020, 1,47,492 children have lost their parents due to Covid-19 or other reason, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) data showed.
After including 10,094 orphans in need of care and protection, a total of 1,36,910 children lost their parents, 488 were abandoned, pushing the total to 1,47,492, the Commission informed Supreme Court on the basis of data uploaded by states and union territories on its ‘Baal Swaraj Portal-COVID care’ up to January 11.
The commission further said that out of 1,47,492 children, there are 76,508 boys, 70,980 girls and four transgender. It said that the maximum number of children are between the age group of eight to 13 years (59,010), followed by children in the age group of 14 to 15 years (22,763) and age group of 16 to 18 years (22,626) and four to seven years (26,080).
“Maximum of the children are with their single parent -1,25,205, while 11,272 children are with family members, followed by 8,450 with guardians,” it said.
In the backdrop of the pandemic, the Supreme Court on Monday directed all district magistrates (DMs) to engage with District Legal Service Authority (DLSA), and voluntary organizations to rehabilitate children in street situations. A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.V. Nagarathna said: “we direct all DMs to involve DLSA and voluntary organisations in the identification of children on streets without any further delay”.
The bench added that immediate steps are required to provide shelter to children in street situations by the central government and state governments.
It emphasized that children should be shifted to shelter homes and also directed the DMs to upload the information at all stages on the web portal of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
The bench further added that state governments and union territories (UTs) should engage with authorities concerned to identify and rehabilitate children, without any further delay.