Srinagar, Aug 13: Over 2155 rescued children have been sheltered in childcare institutions in J&K under the Mission Vatsalya scheme in the last three years.
According to the official data, 759 children were sheltered in the year 2020-21, 579 in 2021-22, and 817 in 2022-23.
Besides, 251 children have been rescued from street situations and rehabilitated in Jammu and Kashmir. Of 251, 246 were rescued in 2021-22 and five in 2022-23.
Recently, 15 children were rescued in an anti-begging drive in Srinagar district.
Out of these, 14 were boys and one was a girl, who was shifted to the shelter home at Nowgam.
Director Mission Vatsalya J&K, Harvinder Kour told Greater Kashmir that Mission Vatsalya was combating child exploitation and providing a nurturing environment to those in distress and was a beacon of hope for thousands of children across the country.
She said that under this scheme every child is given the opportunity to grow up in a secure and loving environment, away from harm’s reach.
“We are rescuing children. Some are rehabilitated in our centers. We have handed over some to their parents after proper counseling. We shift children to shelter homes. We provide them food, shelter, and even register them in the schools as well till these children reach 18 years of age,” Kour said.
She said that their department had identified over 280 children in street situations in the entire J&K.
“We will launch more anti-begging drives for these children and provide them with all possible help. Recently, we carried out a similar drive in Jammu and registered children in our department. If these children are up to six-year-old, then we have asked their parents to get them registered in Anganwadi centers where they will get POSHAN. Otherwise, they will be registered in schools,” Kour said.
Mission Vatsalya is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Government of India’ s Ministry of Women and Child Development aimed at building a protective environment for the children.
The scheme is implemented by the Social Welfare Department through J&K State Child Protection Society.
Mission Vatsalya is run through District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) at the district level with the support from statutory bodies CWCs and JJBs.
Last year, the J&K government prepared the draft policy for rehabilitation of Children in Street Situations (CISS).
According to the draft policy, its main objective is to take steps for identification and suitable rehabilitation for children in street situations. The policy has proposed rehabilitation of such children in line with the 2016 Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Scheme.
“A sum of Rs 25,000 to be reimbursed to the child in accordance with the provided law with a payment of Rs 5000 from the District Child Rehabilitation Fund and Rs 20,000 from the employer,” the policy proposed.