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Give platforms for children to influence village development process: GSCPCR


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The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) held a joint meeting with stakeholders on 15th March 2023 at the Conference Hall, Secretariat on the topic of the ‘Status of Village/Municipal Child Protection Committees’.

The meeting, chaired by Peter F. Borges, Honourable Chairperson, GSCPCR, focused on strengthening the child protection system at urban and village bodies. The meeting was attended by Block Development Officers of all talukas and Chief Officer of Municipal Councils and Commissioner of Corporation of City of Panaji, besides Members of GSCPCR, Director of Women and Child Development and Child Welfare Committee.

In his opening remarks, the Chairperson said that there is a need to bring about strong child protection at grassroot level amidst surge in crimes against children in Goa. We must strengthen community-led child protection and ensure safe childhoods for our children. He added that children’s participation is important and helps the gram panchayats work for protection of child rights and address their issues through participatory planning and proper budgeting.

He further said that the formation of child committees is an important step towards highlighting and finding solutions to the issues of children at the local level, and said that children are individuals in their own right. They may not have the life experiences of adults, but they have their own experience, and they need to enter the decision-making processes with their own set of experiences. Children have a right to participate in all decisions that concern their lives and given the opportunity, they can be capable decision-makers.

The following recommendations have been made for strict compliance in the interest of the children- firstly, it has been suggested that wherever not constituted, the committees should be constituted and notified within 15 days and submit the report to Honourable Commission, following which the Commission will engage with the bodies for need assessment and formulation of annual action plan.

Secondly, special orders should be issued to every panchayat, to organize ‘Bal Sabha’ for children in the age group of 11 to 18 years on Panchayati Raj Divas (April 24, 2023), presided by a sarpanch to discuss issues concerning them, hear their opinions and take necessary decisions. Further, Bal Sabha should be made compulsory every six months. The Commission also recommends that concerns like child abuse, menace of drugs, child exploitation, child labour, education, health, girls’ safety, improved mid-day meal scheme, access to government schemes, sanitation and hygiene need to be discussed to ensure children’s participation in the decision-making process and creating child-friendly atmosphere in villages for their growth.

Thirdly, it has been recommended to direct the panchayats and councils to have a separate budget to give thrust to their comprehensive development plan for children with inputs from the children. And lastly, it has been said that the municipal councils are to be directed to have two special meetings every year of the Child Committees in line with the Bal Sabha.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.


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