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TNN | Sep 24, 2013, 02.04AM IST
HYDERABAD: In the wake of children increasingly becoming victims of abuse, the government has decided to set up a child rights commission to look into the welfare of minors.
Headed by women and child welfare minister V Sunita Lakshma Reddy, the new committee comprising six members will chalk out the way forward after a key meeting next week. The statutory body will be headed by a chairperson of the rank of chief secretary and will have members of the rank of principal secretary, Reddy said.
"The members have already been selected. We will take the consent of the chief minister and within a few days, the commission will be functional," said the minister who had been facing criticism for the delay in forming the commission.
The department had invited applications twice for the post of chairperson of the commission, with the minister blaming poor credentials of the applicants for the delay. "We wanted to select only persons of eminence to head this commission. We did receive applications but were not satisfied since most of the candidates lacked the stature to head this body. Hence, we invited more applicants and now will finally decide on one of them," she said. It is learnt that those who applied were mainly social activists and heads of NGOs.
The formation of the committee comes at a time when cases of child abuse and rights' violations are increasing in the state. Around 500 cases of sexual abuse of minors in educational institutions have been registered with police stations across the state since June this year. Among them, 121 cases were from Hyderabad. The Greater Hyderabad region also has an estimated 30,000 child labourers and a few thousands child beggars. Every year, hundreds of kids die of contagious diseases and seasonal ailments due to lack of proper healthcare and preventive measures.
At the moment, 22 states have child rights commissions and Andhra Pradesh was among the few which were yet to form one. Once functional, the commission will take suo motu cognizance of rights violation cases and take action. They are also supposed to raise awareness and work with the government on policies related to child rights.
R Venkat Reddy, project coordinator at MV Foundation, said the new platform could bring a positive change. "There are existing government departments but there is not much reaction from them on these issues. This commission will help in pointing out gaps in the implementation of the policies of the government," Reddy added.