The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) on Wednesday said it will be formulating guidelines for children's hostels which are not registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The guidelines will cover institutions housing children at the request of parents who are unable to take care of them and their education.
According to the Ministry, the new guidelines will prescribe the minimum standards of care that should be provided to children.
In view of the directions of the apex court, the Ministry is drafting the guidelines which will be applicable to any institution not falling under the categories mentioned in the JJ Act, the Ministry said in a statement.
"Children staying at hostels, including those attached to schools, are as vulnerable as children at any other facility like child-care institutions (CCIs) and day-care centres. Therefore, we decided to formulate a set of guidelines to ensure adequate safety, minimum standard of living conditions and periodic inspections at hostels," said Union WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi.
She further noted that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been directed to draft the guidelines in consultation with stakeholders concerned and plan these guidelines notified under the Juvenile Justice Act or the JJ Rules.
To ensure safety and well-being of children even at school hostels, the WCD Ministry will be sharing the guidelines with the Ministry of Human Resource Development for dissemination among schools providing boarding facility.
The Ministry had notified all states and Union Territories to undertake inspection of all CCIs and related facilities and to ensure their registration. As per Section 41 of the JJ Act 2015, registration of all CCIs, whether funded by government or not, is mandatory. The penalty for non-registration is prescribed under Section 42 of the Act.
The Minister added that registration under the JJ Act is also mandatory for all CCIs running in the form of hostels.
(With inputs from agencies.)