NEW DELHI: Even as the government spends around Rs 2.5 crore every year on tracking missing children, over 60,000 children who disappeared in the last four years, are yet to be found.
According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, 64,943 children, who were among those reported missing between January 2012 and February 2016, have not been traced till date.
“A total of 1,94,213 children were reported missing in different states of whom 1,29,270 were recovered by police,” a senior ministry official said. Attributing their disappearance to kidnapping, abduction, human trafficking, illegal adoption, runaway children and natural calamities, he said, the highest number of 44,095 missing children were reported from West Bengal. Of these, 36,055 were later recovered. Uttar Pradesh stood second with 26,008 cases. Of them only 14,646 could be traced.
The ministry has developed web portals ‘TrackChild’ and ‘Khoya-Paya’ to track down the missing and found children.
“The Ministry had launched TrackChild portal in the year 2011-12 and Khoya-Paya in June 2015. Since then approximately Rs 3.11 crore have been released to the National Informatics Centre/National Informatics Centre Services Incorporated and others. There is a provision of yearly budget of Rs 2.50 crore under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme for TrackChild,” the official said.
The Ministry has been operating these portals in association with various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Railways, state governments/UT administration, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, National Legal Services Authority etc.
“The Ministry is also collaborating with Ministry of Railways to rescue and rehabilitate children in difficult circumstances by setting up child help desks at platforms. So far such help desks have been set up at 20 major stations,” he said.