The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday informed Rajya Sabha that the tracking rate of missing children in Delhi was 72 per cent last year, which is better than the average of 65 per cent in 53 mega cities of the country.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said the tracking rate in Delhi was 82 per cent in 2014 and 77 per cent in 2015, when as many as 6,386 and 6,888 children were found missing as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures.
“This is an important social issue. In Delhi, 82 per cent children have been traced in 2015, 77 per cent in 2015 and 72 per cent in 2016. Tracing rate in 53 mega cities is 65 per cent and it was 54 per cent in 2014-15. But tracing rate in Delhi is good,” he told members in Rajya Sabha.
Similarly, he said in Mumbai as many as 2,312 children went missing in 2014 and 1,739 in 2015, while in Chennai it was 405 in 2014 and 702 in 2015. In Bangalore, the missing children as per NCRB were 1,536 in 2014 and 1,268 in 2015.
The Minister said a “ChildLine” initiative of Railway Ministry and Women and Child Development Ministry was introduced in 33 railway stations of the country and this has helped recover 17,900 children in 2014.
Ahir said “Operation Smile” was launched by the Ministry in 2015 from January 1 to 31, which helped trace 9,537 children and launched for the second time in 2016 which helped trace 25,740 children.
Similarly, “Operation Muskan” was also launched by the Ministry from July 1 to 31, 2015 during which 19,195 children were found and when the same was repeated in 2016 in the same month, 12,233 children were recovered.
The Minister said that in 2012 the Home Ministry also issued an advisory to help track missing children and several other steps have been taken to recover missing children.
Ahir cited several factors attributed to missing children that include domestic quarrels, mental illness, scolding by parents, poverty, academic pressure, loosing their way, elopement, going to relative’s place, trafficking, illegal adoption, natural calamities.
“Some cases can also be attributed to kidnapping/ abduction with criminal intent,” he said.