On Monday the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) submitted a report to the Supreme Court revealing a shocking number of children orphaned, lost one parent or left abandoned during the Covid-19 pandemic. The total number accounted for 30,071, based on the data submitted by different states from April 1, 2020, to June 5, 2021. 

Total 26,176 children lost one parent to Covid, while 3,621 lost both, and 274 were abandoned, informed the Supreme Court.

The Commission told SC that this being the total number of children who lost either mother/father or both parents, irrespective of the cause of death (including Covid and non-covid deaths), were uploaded on the Bal Swaraj portal and information was gathered later by it.

The Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance in this matter. As a result, NCPCR was directed to disclose the number of such children who suffered because of this catastrophic event.

In its affidavit, NCPCR unveiled the worst affected states during the pandemic. Maharashtra, being the worst affected, recorded a total number of 7,084 children who lost their parent/parents or were abandoned since April 1 last year. Followed by Uttar Pradesh with 3,172, Rajasthan (2,482), Haryana (2,438), Madhya Pradesh (2,243), Andhra Pradesh (2,089), Kerala (2,002), Bihar (1,634) and Odisha (1,073).

The apex court was also informed that of the total affected children 15,620 are boys, 14,447 girls and 4 are transgenders. A huge number (11,815) of children fall in the category of 8 to 13 years of age. 

While 2,902 affected are in the age group of 0-3 years, 5,107 in  4-7 years group, and 4,908 in 14 to 15 years of age group, leaving 5,339 in the age group of 16-18 years.

NCPCR said that the data uploading process for the identification of Child in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP) is ongoing. It also showed concern for the adoption calls lurking around the internet by private organizations and individuals. They had received many complaints over the last few months regarding the issue. 

It is to be noted that individuals/organisations giving away children for adoption without adhering to the procedure laid down by Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 is a punishable offence. 

“The adoption of orphan/ abandoned/ surrendered children is lawful only after the adoption procedure as given under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 is followed and the final adoption order is passed by the prescribed authority,” it said.