Ministry of Women and Child Development Celebrated ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ With the Theme of Children Ideas, Rights &Nutrition During 14-21 November, 2021

New Delhi : To commemorate the monumental occasion of India’s 75 years’ independence, Ministry of Women and Child Development Celebrated Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav during the week 14-21 November, 2021 with the theme of ‘Children Ideas, Rights & Nutrition’. The objective wasto generate awareness about child rights and stimulate the collective thought process of the community at large in this direction mainly through outreach activities in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and Specialised Adoption Agencies.

During the week, visits were made by WCD ministry officials to 17 Child Care Institutions including Government Observation Homes, Children Home for Special Needs and Specialized Adoption Agencies spread across 16 States/UTs (Delhi, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Meghalaya and Manipur)and various activitieswere organized for children in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Environment.

It was indeed a stimulating and enriching experience for the children at CCIs. Their impeccable innocent spirits made the ambience in CCIs vibrant and positive. May it be children reciting poems or proudly singing songs of glory for our motherland, their smiles were a sight to cherish. Children enacted the famous words of their favorite freedom fighters and they canvassed paintings on the theme. They also took pledge on Not to litter the environment, planting trees, minimize the use of plastic and so on. Elocution competitions were held with the topic ’Vision for India for next 25 years’. Children articulately delivered heartwarming speeches with sincere dedication for their motherland. Children thoroughly enjoyed the video screening on cultural heritage and storytelling about great leaders and heroes of Indian freedom struggle. Children visited National Museums with great happiness which intrigued one and all.

Over the week, the WCD ministry organized Sensitization Programmes/Webinars along with Meets for Adoptive Parents & Prospective Adoptive Parents. These meets were conducted in Maharashtra and Regional Consultation held at NIPCCD Guwahati mainly to address the issue on Legal Adoption, Changes in Adoption Regulations and their impact on NRI Prospective Adoptive Parents.  Officials from State Govts, State Adoption Resource Agencies, District Child Protection Units, Specialised Adoption Agencies and Indian Missions abroad participated in these events. A webinar on Child Rights was also organized by NIPCCD with participation of senior officials from   Ministry of Law & Justice, Centre for Child Rights, NCERT, UNICEF and 1600 multiple stakeholders working for children.

Ministry of External Affairs organized Quiz on the theme ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ for diaspora children. The children were on high spirits on receiving awards and prizes on winning various competitions.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) organized a National Workshop on“Child Rights withemphasis on preventive aspects of child protection issues” on21st November, 2021 atGandhi Darshan, New Delhi. The programme was inaugurated by Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Minister, Ministry of Women & ChildDevelopment as the chief guest. Speaking on the occasion, the minister mentioned that the best test for a democracy is whether we as citizens and we as a nation can deliver justice to all our children.The Minister said that it is necessary to develop the consciousness of the society towards child rights so that they can come forward for protection and rehabilitation of children. She said that Ministry of Women and Child Development has taken several steps for the protection of child rights including amendment in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences, POCSO Act and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, by the Parliament, however, the society is ever changing, administrative needs are dynamic and hence it is incumbent upon us that we evolve with time and be ready with solutions for the challenges.She urged the participants of the workshop that while they look at challenges that emanate from poverty, they should also look into abuse that happens in prosperous families, that happens in powerful organizations and in childcare institutions and how can we not as administrators but as citizens find solutions.

In his address, Shri Indevar Pandey, Secretary, Ministry of WCD pointed out that it is a fundamental right of every child to be protected against neglect, violence and abuse which may be physical, sexual and economical and exploitation while in care of any institution, individual or authority. The rights of children to such protection are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989, as well as by the Constitution of India, and several laws that are in place for this purpose. He highlighted that Government of India has placed Institutional mechanisms at various levels to protect the children of India. He expressed his concern on issues like mental health support and psycho social counseling for children in difficult circumstances and stated that Ministry has established “SAMVAD” which is institutional mechanism in collaboration with NIMHANS to deal with these issues.

The NCPCR Workshop was attended by stakeholders working on child rights across the country comprising Chairpersons/ Members of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs); officers from Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTUs); officials working under Child Protection Services Scheme;representativesoftheNGOsworking in the field of child rights including  participants connected virtuallyfrom State/UT Department of Panchayati Raj; Department of Labour; Department of Education etc.During the NCPCR Workshop discussions were held onRescue andRehabilitation aspectsof ChildTrafficking, types of child trafficking, Modus Operandi of Traffickers during COVID-19pandemic, child safety,substanceabuse, online safety of children and its prevention. An open house session was also conducted which was chaired by the Chairperson, NCPCR wherein steps to be taken to comply with thedirections of Hon’ble Supreme Court on Children in Street Situations (CiSS) werediscussed.

The complete package of events over the week celebrated under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav by ministry of WCD was a source of inspiration to make children aware of their own creativity with new and innovative ideas making them self-reliant. They were evoked with the sense of patriotism; instillation of a sense of pride about the achievements of the Nation as we move forward with new resolutions to realize the dreams of an independent India.

On 21st November, the Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Irani, in a tweet message, encouraged all children to take a pledge for their Nation. In her tweet, the Union Minister said “Dear #ChildrenOfNewIndia,Next 75 years of our Nation belong to you. Take a pledge to contribute towards a strong & developed nation. Your dreams are ours to support & help fulfil and we will continue to do our duty. Let’s together build a New India!”