The statutory body instated to monitor and ensure the rights of children is fighting for its own basic rights. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has an office, courtroom, members and exists in reality but for the government, it’s a non-entity post bifurcation. The only person receiving the salary on time happens to be the lone attender.
The six Commission members allege that they have literally not been paid any salary since last March after they took charge. The state of affairs at the Commission is pitiable in the absence of a chairperson.
The lack of infrastructure and staff has also led to half of the members voluntarily opting out of their duties. A closer look inside the Commission paints a picture of neglect with sub-standard furniture and just one semi-functional computer for all the members.
The reason behind the rift and confusion between the Commission members and the government are the two Government Orders. One Government Order (G.O. no. 5) brought out in March mentioned that the Commission members will be of principal secretary rank with equivalent salaries and allowances. Later on, the Telangana government issued G.O. no. 196 which fixed the salaries of the members at only Rs. 15,000 without any additional privileges.
“We have heard 97 cases without a salary, staff, allowances or basic facilities in the last ten months,” said Achyuta Rao, a member. “We have given representations to the Chief Minister and other senior officials but nothing has been done. Neither is the government improving the condition of the Commission nor constituting a new one.”
Another member, Mamta Raghuveer, said, “In States like Kerala, Delhi and Goa, the Commission members are equal to principal secretary rank as per court orders. If members draw Rs. 60,000 salary there, we are not even getting Rs. 15,000. On top of it, we are spending on our transport and have to take care of other expenses too.”
When contacted, a senior official of the Women and Child Welfare Department said that some amount in the form of advance had been provided to the Commission members in instalments. At the same time, the official also hinted that there was a question mark over the legal status of the Commission which was formed before the bifurcation.