New Delhi: Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD), Maneka Gandhi said that the 4th SAARC ministerial meeting is notable and in a way historic since it is the first where South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) takes stock of 5 years of work by national governments working in official partnership for the safety and security of children of the region.
The WCD Minister hoped that the meeting will not only take the next step of assessing the challenges of our present time, and adopting decisions that will guide our next five years, but will also become an instrument of change.
Gandhi highlighted the important new initiatives of the Indian Government as a part of affirmative action for protection of children like the ‘Beti bachao beti Padhao’ Scheme, Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act, 2015, launch of ‘Khoya-Paya’; a Citizen based ICT platform to report missing and found children, extension of Childline to 402 locations across the country, Unique initiative with railways for runaway/trafficked children, inspection of Child Care Institutions, adoption reforms, introduction of Foster care among others.
Gandhi also outlined the steps taken under the important ongoing schemes/initiatives and by institutions like POCSO, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, New National Policy for Children, Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, and efforts to check child labour, efforts to prevent child marriages among others.
She specially highlighted the new ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, launched under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which has now become one of the flagship programs of the Government.
The program was launched to ensure survival, protection, education and empowerment of girl child and has become extremely successful, the Minister explained. She further added that it is an excellent example of how it is possible to achieve behavior change in a short period of time through concerted, collective and determined effort of various stakeholders.
Today?s Ministerial Meeting of SAIEVAC was preceded by a two-day technical session and was attended by Ministers of Child/Social Affair Departments of concerned countries, Secretaries of concerned departments, senior officials and Civil Society Organizations of various SAARC Countries.
The meeting saw a discussion on ways and means to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, review of progress of ten years of SAIEVAC and five-year work plan (2011-16), formulation of draft recommendations by the 6th Governing Board Meeting and Adoption of Agenda for the next five years. The SAIEVAC meeting was hosted by WCD Ministry of Government of India.