The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Minister of Railway, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu jointly launched the pasting of posters for Child Protection in trains at New Delhi Railway Station. Smt. Gandhi and Shri Suresh Prabhu also inaugurated a Childline Kiosk with the helpline number 1098 on the occasion. The Minister of Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan and Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi were also present at the function. The posters advise the public to be cautious and conscious of children who may need protection and also advise to what to do in case they come across such a child.
Speaking on the occasion Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that there are large number of children who run away from their homes for various reason and use railways as mode of travel. Such children need care and protection for which this joint initiative is launched. The Minister of Women and Child Development said that the railway passengers must inform about missing or alone children in the train coaches with the help of child protection posters and helpline no.1098. She said that both ministries will start 200 Childline Kiosk booths at the various stations in the country. Smt Gandhi said that it is expected that coaches of all the trains carrying passengers will have these posters in the next six month. She recommended that each train coach should have at least four poster of child protection.
The Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhu emphasized the need for special safeguards and care for children around railway stations. Shri Prabhu informed that RPF personnel of Delhi division have rescued 1146 children at railway station/trains in last six months. The Minister said that the Ministry of Railway will fully support to the Ministry of Women & Child Development in this mission. He hinted that the Railway Ministry may start an online registration system for missing children with the help of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Give Me a Chance, a documentary presentation was also made on the occasion. Secretary, Women and Child Development, Shri V. Somasundaran and senior officials from both the ministries were also present.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Railway had jointly taken an initiative to provide care and protection to children who are trafficked and transported through railways. Finally, a number of children get separated from their guardians during the course of their journey through railway. A Standard Operating Procedure has been notified by the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Women and Child Development, through Childline and other partner organizations, is providing the back up to receive and restore the children. This initiative is currently operating at 20 railway stations including New Delhi, Delhi(main), Nizamuddin, Anand Vihar Terminus, Mumbai Central, CST Mumbai, Howrah, Sealdah, New Jalpaiguddi, Ranchi, Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Lucknow(NR), Lucknow(NER), Guwahati, Bangalore City, Patna, Varanasi Cantt., Secunderabad and Nagpur. This is being extended to more railway stations progressively.
This poster launch was a part of a series of events which have taken place since the 19th of May, 2015 when Ministry of Women and Child Development entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ministry of Railways to ensure the care and protection, security, well- being of run-away, unaccompanied and trafficked children who come in contact with the railways.
Since commencement of this initiative, assistance to 3,339 children has been provided. This includes protection of children from exploitative situations, production before Child Welfare Committee, restoration to parents/guardians and linkages to long rehabilitative services. It is expected that this joint initiative will go a long way in addressing the issues related to rescue and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection who come in contact with the Railways.