'539 child care institutions closed down across India'
New Delhi: As many as 539 child care institutions (CCIs) have been shut down by the Women and Child Development Ministry across the country for various irregularities after inspections were carried out in the wake of cases of sexual abuse surfacing in Bihar, a senior official has said.
In Maharashtra, 377 CCIs were closed, the highest among all states and Union Territories, followed by Andhra Pradesh - 78, and Telangana - 32.
In August, the ministry had directed the states to inspect all child care institutions in the aftermath of the alleged sexual abuse of 34 minor girls at a shelter home in Bihar. It had asked the collectors of respective areas to submit their reports in this regard. After the inspection, it was found that around 539 CCIs were not adhering to norms or were not registered, the senior WCD official said.
"We had to shut those institutes which were not providing the desired standard of living to the children or violated the norms or those which were unregistered. "The children who were living in those CCIs have been safely shifted to other child institutes," said the official.
Reports of alleged rape of girl inmates in a shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur and another in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh had surfaced this year.
The WCD Ministry had asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to conduct a social audit of all the CCIs and also directed the unregistered institutes to register themselves within two months. Union WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi had earlier asked for setting up of Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs.
The minister had also said that the district magistrates and district collectors should take the responsibility of monitoring adoption programmes which are implemented at the district level.