The ICPS which was launched by the Tamil Nadu Govt. in 2012 hit rough weather from day one

How officers in Tamil Nadu are spending own money to keep a Government child-protection scheme aliveImage for representation/pixabay
news Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 19:38

The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for children’s safety seems to be headed in the wrong direction in Tamil Nadu with several officers’ contracts not being renewed and salaries not being paid. 

G. Vinayagamoorthy, who was a District Protection Officer at Cuddalore, has not been working for the past eight months because his contract was not renewed by the district officer. He was not given any reasons for non-renewal of his contract. 

The officer was not given salary for six months before being suspended from work. Other than him, nine officers’ contracts were not renewed in his team. Before being suspended from work, he said that he had to put money from his own pocket for spreading awareness about child protection schemes and helping the victims in various cases.

The ICPS which was launched by the Tamil Nadu Govt. in 2012 through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union Ministry hit rough weather from day one and has not been functioning effectively in various districts of the state.

G. Vinayagamoorthy said that the staffs are recruited on contract basis for the District Care Protection Unit (DCPU), once in six months, instead of annually. 

He added, “In every six months the contract needs to be renewed. We were often scared that the contract won’t get renewed and someone else will be recruited at our post. Even though, the salary has been increased to Rs.21,000 but six months’ salary remains unpaid.”

Other expenses such as rent, telephone have been paid by the officers themselves. No money has been released for schemes and campaigns also.

He said that the child protection schemes are not being implemented properly in most of the districts as the District Officer is getting changed frequently, so there are no regular meetings to check if the counsellors and protection officers are working properly.

Prof. K. Shanmugavelayudam, Head of Legal Resource for Child Rights said, “In many districts the members of District Child Protection Units are idling in many districts without any funds and proper functioning. Counsellors in 18 districts do not have any professional qualification and experience. Counselling materials prepared for the 32 districts remain un-utilized. Salaries to counsellors and others in the 18 district resource centres are too meagre and no resource activities are happening and such resource centres remain only on paper.”

A.Narayanan, Director, CHANGE India which works for child protection in the state said that no funds have been disbursed for Foster-care, sponsorship and after-care at the district level for the last two years. 

Even though 40 vulnerable children were identified per district for the sponsorship scheme, they have not been extended any assistance for the past two years. No awareness programs, capacity building or skills enhancement have been undertaken as of now.

There is no clarity/ guidelines on utilization of Nirbhaya Funds in Tamil Nadu. Child victims of sexual offences remain without any relief and rehabilitation, said A. Narayanan.

The Director added that incidents of abuse against children by police personnel often go unpunished.

Considering the dismal state of affairs due to poor administration of the ICPS, it is high time the state govt. pulled up its socks and took necessary steps to redress the situation.