Mumbai

Child helpline app CHIRAG relaunched

Child Rights and to Address their Grievances, CHIRAG, a mobile app that works as a child helpline was relaunched by the State government on Wednesday.

Three studies on the condition and empowerment of street children were also released by Pankaja Munde, Minister for Women and Child Development. Later, 13 former street children who now lead better lives were felicitated.

The app was developed by the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) in partnership with the International Justice Mission (IJM) India on November 9, 2016 to create awareness of child rights in the State.

The CHIRAG app contains information about existing laws and court orders in the domain of child rights, along with contact details of the MSCPCR officials, and local authorities. One can also file complaints regarding violation of child rights such as child labour, trafficking, and child abuse. The app is free for download on Android and IOS operating systems.

Ms. Munde said, “When we launched the app last year in my office, I told the MSCPCR that we need more promotion and awareness for it. Therefore, I asked the State commission to prepare a promotion plan for which I would provide a budget.”

Addressing abuse

The Minister also highlighted the problem of domestic abuse and said, “Violation of children’s rights in their homes is a pressing problem. The voices of these children are silenced by people they know. CHIRAG is the medium through which we can address these issues, as one can file complaints on it and the officials on the other side can conduct investigations into the same.”

Abhay Tripathi, secretary, MSCPCR, said, “This new age is a tech age, and we must make information and help accessible to the public. While this app is for all children, there are two-and-a-half-crore street kids in the country living in difficult circumstances, at risk of abuse, and child labour. We are using various means, this being one of them, to spread awareness of their rights, enabling them to have an impact on society.”

Ms. Munde also launched a study conducted by the MSCPCR and IJM on commercial sexual exploitation of children in Mumbai. IJM’s regional director, Sanjay Macwan, elaborated on the study saying, “The survey was conducted by 15 internationally recognised researchers over a period of 10 months and spans Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai.”

Mr. Macwan said that older reports stated that around 40% of the children of these areas were involved in trafficking, but our survey shows that the new number is around 5.5%. “We hope that by 2020, this number reaches zero.”

Also launched at the programme were two reports, one containing descriptions and analyses of the orders issued by the MSCPCR by the United Nations Children's Fund, and the other the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for street children by Save The Children.

The SOP has consolidated the guidelines and policy analysis on the issue into one document, while also including data from five cities that were researched. About 85,000 street children were surveyed.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 8:59:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/child-helpline-app-chirag-relaunched/article18789599.ece

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