Bhubaneswar:Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patanik said that the state government dedicated to the cause of child rights and child protection. He said every child has the inherent right to life, to be protected from violence, abuse and neglect. Children have the right to education, to play and to express themselves freely. They have the right to good health and quality healthcare.
He said this at the National Conference on Integrated Child Protection Schemes (ICPC) – An Opportunity to Strengthen Alternative forms of Child Care System at Hotel Swosti Premium, Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.
Text of speech of CM:
I do thank the organizers for having invited me to this National Conference on Integrated Child Protection Scheme. Children are the most precious assets in any society. Society has the responsibility to pay proper attention to them for all-round development of their welfare.
Our Government is dedicated to the cause of child rights and child protection. We believe that every child has the inherent right to life, to be protected from violence, abuse and neglect. Children have the right to education, to play and to express themselves freely. They have the right to good health and quality healthcare.
We have taken a number of steps in this regard. You will be happy to know that we have recently launched a State scheme- MAMATA- a conditional cash transfer provision for pregnant women in the rural areas of our State. We hope that this intervention will significantly reduce the Maternal Mortality and Infant Mortality Rate in Orissa.
The National Family Health Survey III shows that the sharpest drop of 10 points in the levels of child malnutrition was in Orissa. Our endeavour is to see that this positive trend continues and we are able to achieve the Millenium Development Goals in reduction of child mal-nutrition.
As the population of the world touches the seven billion mark, children become more significant in terms of planning,keeping the future in mind. India is home to almost 19 percent of the globe’s children. As many as 40 percent of India’s children are in a deprived condition. Lack of a family environment leads to denial of their rights. The Government subscribes to the need of a family environment for all children shifting the focus from institutionalization of children towards family care and community-based alternative cares. Rights to family of a child is the primary focus. Institutional care should be a measure of last resort after all other options are explored.
The Government of Orissa is determined to protect children by ensuring their different rights through implementing different acts and schemes. It also ensures the participation of children during the implementation.
The existing child protection mechanism includes programmes for ensuring justice for children in need of care and protection, and children in conflict with law. The State Government runs various child protection services such as Integrated Programme for Street Children, Child Line Services in selected districts, Scheme for Working Children, Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme, Pilot Project for combating trafficking of women and children and National Child Labour Project for Rehabilitation of Child Labour. Besides a Central and a State Adoption Resource Agency are functioning for promotion of adoption.
Orissa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has been formed. It has the power to take suo-moto cognizance of violation of child rights and effectively implement laws related to children.
Orissa is one of the pioneering states to implement Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). The ICPS is expected to significantly contribute to the realization of state responsibility for creating a system that effectively protects children. One of the most important objectives of ICPS is to contribute to the wellbeing of children in difficult circumstances through promotion of family based care including sponsorship, kinship care, foster care and adoption.
We have successfully taken some of the steps such as constitution of Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and Special Juvenile Police Units in all the 30 districts. Orissa State Child Protection Society is registered at the state level followed by district societies. As many as 131 child care institutions are functional providing institutional care to children in need. Specialized Adoption agencies are working for promotion of both in-country and inter-country adoption. The State has a Child Protection Policy which is displayed in all child care institutions.
Child rights cannot be ensured in isolated manner. It needs convergence of all programmes. It also demands active support from all sources such as civil society, NGOs and finally from all citizens. Then we can successfully realize the dream of a child-friendly society.
I would like to conclude here with the famous quote of former UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan -- "There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace."
Among others, the meeting was attended by Minister for W & CD Smt. Anjali Behera, Chairperson of NCPCR, Dr. Shanta Sinha, President, ICCW Smt. Gita Siddhartha, UNICEF Representative for India, Ms. Karin Hulshof, Secretary, W& CD Smt. Arati Ahuja.