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As reported at hindustantimes.com by Chetan Chauhan on February 20, 2011 India’s children are missing at a much faster rate than ever before with as many as 60,000 young ones below 18 reported missing in 2009 as compared to 44,000 in 2004 — a jump of 35%. What is more disturbing is that only 40% of them are traced, mostly through individual efforts by parents. It means that seven children, mostly from extremely poor families, go missing every hour with a count of 165 a day. About 10% or 6,000 children, who went missing were infants less than a year old. “The figure would have been higher had bigger states like Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu provided information under the Right To Information Act,” said Kailash Sathyarathi, chairman of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which filed the RTI applications 10 months ago. Twenty-four children going missing from Noida’s Nithari area in 2006 stirred the government to announce a Rs 200-crore scheme for a database of all missing children in India. Only two states — Delhi and Haryana — have uploaded data on all missing children on Zipnet, a centralised database to help track them. “There is not even 15% interest in implementing this good initiative,” said PM Nair, an Indian Police Service officer, who had worked on child issues with the United Nations and National Human Rights Commission on its study in 2004. The RTI replies filed by the states show the police investigates just 15 % of complaints it receives because of manpower constrains. Implications were apparent in case of three children from Delhi, who were found in a brothel, a roadside eatery and in a begging gang six months after they were reported missing. “In most cases investigation does not proceed more than 15-20 days,” Nair said.
Atul Patankar posted a topic in RTI in MediaAs reported at sify.com/news on 14 November 2010 New Delhi: The right to education act might have made education compulsory for children in the 6-14 age group, but very few government schools in Delhi seem to be aware of this as they have been allowing students to drop out on grounds like work, marriage, long absences and non-payment of fees. This was revealed by a Right To Information (RTI) plea, which also said only two out of 28 zones under the directorate of education in the capital could give information on government school dropouts. RTI activist Manish Bhatnagar says when he sought information on school dropouts in 2009-10, the divisional officers of the state education department didn't have any such details. Then he applied RTI to the directorate of education to know the number of school dropouts, but out of the 28 zones across Delhi he only got responses from the northwest and outer zones. Information from the rest was not provided. 'Even from the two zones, the plight of school dropouts was startling. The information given showed that mostly girls studying in Classes 8 and 9 were granted school leaving certificates (SLC) as they had to get married while some institutions granted the same to boys as they had to work,' Bhatnagar said. The RTI findings reveal that the UK Rajakiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Daryapur Kalan, Delhi, granted SLC to a student, Kanchan of Class 5, mentioning that the family was shifting back to their home state of Bihar for labour work and she was needed to support the family in the work. The same school replied that the administration had granted SLC to a student, Sonam of Class 10, as she was about to get married. As per the Government Co-Ed Secondary School, C-block, Metro Vihar, Holambi Kalan, in the present session they have provided the SLC to Class 5 student Rakesh, who has been working and has been absent for a long time. Almost all schools of northwest Delhi have answered that the maximum number of students dropped out due to long absence and non-payment of dues. Rakesh Singhar, national secretary of the child rights NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), said, 'The status of Delhi government schools is no doubt like this. Government school teachers and officers are less aware of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE Act 2009).' The RTE Act states that every child in the age group of 6-14 will be provided elementary education in an age appropriate classroom in the vicinity of his or her neighbourhood. The act also states that any cost that prevents a child from accessing school will be borne by the state which shall have the responsibility of enrolling the child as well as ensuring attendance and completion of eight years of schooling. No child shall be denied admission for want of documents; no child shall be turned away if the admission cycle in the school is over and no child shall be asked to take an admission test, as per the rule. Singhar also said in Delhi that only six percent of them were aware of RTE. Many government school teachers, principals, MCD officials and lower level district education officers are not aware of RTE. 'When crores of rupees are spent by the Indian government to eradicate illiteracy, in schools in the outer district, particularly Narela, in Classes 8 and 9 the school dropout rate of girls is high as all of them get married. When we ask the principal why they grant SLC on this ground, they can offer no reasons,' Bhatnagar added. Singhar said: 'Often when we rescue children who are being exploited as labourers, we discover that they are school dropouts. This is a major problem but the government is less concerned.'
As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 14 March 2009 NEW DELHI: How much could asking for information on missing children under the RTI Act possibly cost? Well, if the questions are addressed to Delhi Police, it could be as high as Rs 78,927. That's exactly how the office of DCP (southeast) responded to an application filed by the NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), seeking details of Delhi's missing children (2006-08). In a reply to the BBA application, the DCP's office said, "We have to suspend our regular work in order to furnish the requisite information sought by you for which considerable manpower will be utilised/diverted to discern this information. Hence, as per provisions of Sec 7(3)(a) of RTI Act, 2005, the requisite details/information can be provided on payment.'' The letter then provides the project's financial details. For instance, one head constable each from 15 police stations in the district would work for three days at the rate of Rs 840 per day costing Rs 37,800. Similarly, one constable each from the 15 police stations working for the same would cost another Rs 36,945. Similar charges for the sub-inspector associated with the work for three days adds another Rs 4,182 to the cost. Section 7(3)(a) of RTI Act, 2005, says the public information officer shall send intimation to the person making the request giving "the details of further fees representing the cost of providing the information as determined by him, together with the calculations made to arrive at the amount in accordance with fee prescribed...''. The police seems to believe it is playing by the rules. However, activists are wondering whether the letter is just a way of making it difficult to obtain information. "The question of public authorities charging citizens the cost of manpower employed for collection of information does not arise. Compliance with the Act's provision is like any legal duty performed by a public servant,'' says RTI activist Commodore Lokesh Batra. Interestingly, Rakesh Sengar of BBA, points out that other police districts such as northeast and west have offered information on the same without asking for any legwork money as done by the southeast police. The NGO has appealed to the Central Information Commission, says Sengar. It is not an open and shut case though. Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner, says there are similar cases pending before the commission. "This is a live issue before us. We have not passed any judgment in this regard,'' he says. Those in favour of right to information would be hoping a favourable decision comes sooner than later. Source: Cops' RTI reply on missing kids costs Rs 78,927-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India