13 Apr 2015

The National Policy for Children, 2013

On April 18th, 2013 the Union Cabinet approved the National Policy for Children to help in the implementation of programmes and schemes for children all over the country. The policy acknowledges the child as an individual and the subject of his/her own development, displays a quiet assurance and sense of purpose. The Policy lays down the guiding principles that must be followed by National, State and Local governments in their actions and initiatives for affecting children.

The Constitution of India guarantees Fundamental Rights to all children in the country and empowers the State to make special provisions for children. The policy lays down the guiding principles that must be respected by national, state and local governments in their actions and initiatives affecting children. 

The Policy reaffirms the Government's commitment to the realisation of the rights of all children in the country. It recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and that childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own, and a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for the harmonious development and protection of children. 

The policy identified Survival, Health, Nutrition, Education, Development, Protection and Participation as the undeniable rights of every child, and has also declared these as key priority areas. 

As children's needs are multi-sectoral, interconnected and require collective action, the policy aims at purposeful convergence and strong coordination across different sectors and levels of governance; active engagement and partnerships with all stakeholders; setting up of a comprehensive and reliable knowledge base; provision of adequate resources; and sensitization and capacity development of all those who work for and with children.

Through this policy the State is committed to take affirmative measures – legislative, policy or otherwise – to promote and safeguard the right of all children to live and grow with equity, dignity, security and freedom, to ensure that all children have equal opportunities; and that no custom, tradition, cultural or religious practice is allowed to violate or restrict or prevent children from enjoying their rights.


Features of National Policy for Children 2013

Recognises that:
·         a child is any person below the age of eighteen years
·         childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own
·         children are not a homogenous group and their different needs need different responses, especially the multi-dimensional vulnerabilities experienced by children in different circumstances
·         a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for the overall and harmonious development and protection of children
Reaffirms that:
·         every child is unique and a supremely important national asset
·         special measures and affirmative action are required to diminish or eliminate conditions that cause discrimination
·         all children have the right to grow in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding
·         families are to be supported by a strong social safety net in caring for and nurturing their children

Key guiding principles of the National Policy for Children, 2013:

(i) every child has universal, inalienable and indivisible human rights
(ii) the rights of children are interrelated and interdependent, and each one of them is equally important and fundamental to the well-being and dignity of the child
(iii) every child has the right to life, survival, development, education, protection and participation
(iv) right to life, survival and development goes beyond the physical existence of the child and also encompasses the right to identity and nationality
(v) mental, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural development of the child is to be addressed in totality
(vi) all children have equal rights and no child shall be discriminated against on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, class, language, and disability, social, economic or any other status
(vii) the best interest of the child is a primary concern in all decisions and actions affecting the child, whether taken by legislative bodies, courts of law, administrative authorities, public, private, social, religious or cultural institutions
(viii) family or family environment is most conducive for the all-round development of children and they are not to be separated from their parents, except where such separation is necessary in their best interest
(ix) every child has the right to a dignified life, free from exploitation
(x) safety and security of all children is integral to their well-being and children are to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect, violence, maltreatment and exploitation in all settings including care institutions, schools, hospitals, crèches, families and communities
(xi) children are capable of forming views and must be provided a conducive environment and the opportunity to express their views in any way they are able to communicate, in matters affecting them
(xii) children’s views are to be heard in all matters affecting them, in particular judicial and administrative proceedings and interactions, and their views given due consideration in accordance with their age, maturity and evolving capacities

Operation and Supervision of the Policy

·         The Ministry of Women and Child Development will be the nodal ministry for overseeing and coordinating the implementation of the policy and will lead the review process for the policy.

·         A National Coordination and Action Group (NCAG) for Children under the Minister in charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development will monitor the progress with other concerned Ministries as its members. Similar Coordination and Actions Groups will be established at the State and District level.

·         The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ascertain that the principles of the policy are valued in all sectors at all levels. There is a provision for comprehensive review of this policy every five years in consultation with all stakeholders, including children.

·         The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions  for Protection of Child Rights will ensure that the principles of this Policy are  respected in all sectors at all levels in formulating laws, policies and programmes affecting children.

Click on the link to download the policy online:

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for all the Stakeholders in Safeguarding Rights of Children in Contact with Railways

A large number of vulnerable children come in contact with the Indian Railways as passengers or as abandoned, trafficked, runway children from their homes. Missing children travelling in trains and homeless children living at the platforms and working in and around the platforms within the Railway Stations are also children who are in need of protection.

It has been universally recognized that every child is a rights holder and, as a unique and valuable human being, has the rights to be safe and be protected from all forms of abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation and to be safeguarded from falling into vulnerable situations. Children living on the railway stations and other transport terminals constitute a highly vulnerable and marginalized section of the society who normally enters the Railway platforms to eke out a living or for the security it offers. 

In view of these realities, to protect the best interest of these children it becomes imperative for the railways and other stakeholders to act together so as to ensure them protection while at railway premises. Thus recognizing the role and responsibilities of the Railways authorities, a model Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) was issued by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

For the purpose of this Protocol
1. A child means any person below the age of 18 years as per the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000

2. A child in need of care and protection at the station and on a moving train means:

Unaccompanied children in need of support
Children travelling alone and is in crisis
Missing children found at the stations or in the moving train
Children being trafficked
Children separated from their family either by missing the train or left out by parents
Children run away from their homes and families
Children living at the station
Children working at station or in train
Injured, ill children at the station
Abused children or vulnerable to abuse
Children involved in drug addiction at the station
Rag picking children
Abandoned including disabled children at the station
Child beggars

3. Child Welfare Committee (CWC): Under section 29 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006 it a requirement that;

The State Government may constitute for every district, one or more, Child Welfare Committees
The Committee shall consist of a Chairperson and four other members as the State Government may think fit to appoint, of whom at least one shall be a woman and another, an expert on matters concerning children.
The Ministry of Railway has also constituted the Child Welfare Committee at all Divisional level of Indian Railways, headed by the Senior Divisional Security Commandants (Sr. DSCs). Hence, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) means a statutory body under the JJ Act, and the CWC constituted by Railway authorities shall be marked as ‘CWC (Rly)’.

4. Children Assistance Centre at the station means a designated place at every railway station specifically allocated for children in need of care and protection at the station. Such space should have adequate arrangement for food, temporary shelter, clothing, toilet and first aid and medicines. A part of a waiting room may be converted into such facility. It has to be owned by RPF and managed by RPF in collaboration/ with support from voluntary organizations and CHILDLINE- 1098.

Indian Railways shall set up an Indian Railways Child Protection Centre (IRCPC) itself or in association with registered child care and protection voluntary organizations at the major Railway Stations across the country to provide temporary shelter to children in need of care and protection who come in contact with the Railways authorities during odd hours between 8 PM to 8 AM and require night shelter facility.

The Indian Railways shall allocate space at major Railways Stations to open such Centre which shall function as a hub for a group of stations in adjoining distance.

The Railway Protection Force (RPF), Government Railways Police (GRP), CHILDLINE or any concerned adult shall refer children to such Centre. In case the child is being referred by any concerned adult, his/her identity shall be recorded in the register. No child shall be kept at the Centre for more than 24 hours.

The Protocol will detail the set up and its Standards to facilitate the care and support to the children in vulnerable situations. The Railways will manage a Child Helpdesk at the Stations.

Read the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the NCPCR for all the Stakeholders in Safeguarding Rights of Children in Contact with Railways here: