Punjab Government is striving for all-round development of children: Dr Baljit Kaur

Chandigarh: Punjab Government is taking significant steps under the Juvenile Justice Act to protect children involved in legal disputes in the state. This was expressed by the Minister of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Dr. Baljit Kaur, here today.

Dr. Baljit Kaur, the Minister of Social Security, Women and Child Development, stated that the Punjab government, led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, is continuously working for the welfare of women, children, the elderly, and disabled persons. For this purpose, the department is running a child protection scheme under Mission Vatsalya. The mission aims to provide care and protection to vulnerable children facing violence, exploitation, neglect, abuse, child marriage, child labour, and other forms of atrocities in society.

Providing further information on this matter, the Cabinet Minister stated that this scheme is being implemented in every district of the state through District Child Protection Units and a Child Welfare Committee. The objective of the scheme is to provide assistance to any child in need of care and protection. She urged people to report the District Child Protection Officer or the Child Welfare Committee of their district if they witness a child facing abuse. Contact details of these officials are available on the department’s website, www.sswcd.punjab.gov.in, or the website of the concerned district administration.

Dr. Baljit Kaur mentioned that there are 280 children residing in 7 children’s homes operated by the Punjab government, and 1358 children living in 32 children’s homes run by NGOs. These homes provide complete care, shelter, and protection to children. She also stated that all the children in these child care homes are enrolled in schools and receiving formal education.

Minister added that medical officers conduct monthly medical check-ups and mandatory vaccinations to these children. Children are taken on outings, picnics, movies, and other recreational activities for their holistic development. Additionally, sports competitions, skill development courses, computer courses, art and craft activities are provided. Mental health counselors have also been appointed in these child care homes to support children experiencing mental trauma.

Minister of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Dr. Baljit Kaur, mentioned that the department has implemented various protection laws for the safeguarding of children, such as the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Act, 2015, the Child Marriage Act, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012, and the Prevention of Child Labour. The department has also established the Children in Society Emergency Child Helpline (No: 1098, 24×7) to prevent threats against children and strengthen the child protection system. Reports related to children can be made through this helpline.

Dr. Baljit Kaur emphasized the importance of the department officials implementing the Child Acts in their true spirit. She stated that it is our collective responsibility to protect the rights of children under this act.

Social Security and Women and Child Development Department Director Mrs. Madhvi Kataria, said that the main objective of the department is to implement “Mission Vatsalya” at the grassroots level and protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. It is equally important to hold those who harm children accountable. She appealed to the general public that if they witness a child being abused and exploited, the matter should be reported to the District Child Protection Officer or the Child Welfare Committee.