NCPCR asks Delhi Govt to suspend 'Desh ke Mentor' scheme, says may expose children to crime

NCPCR issued a notice to Delhi government and said there is no police verification of mentors, no step taken to ensure safety of students under the scheme.

NCPCR asks Delhi Govt to suspend 'Desh ke Mentor' scheme, says may expose children to crime NCPCR asks Delho government to suspend 'Desh ke Mentor' programme
Anu Parthiban | Jan 13, 2022 - 12:51 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: National Commission For Protection Of Child Rights (NCPCR) recommended the Delhi government immediately suspend ‘Desh ke Mentor’ programme stating that the scheme may expose children to potential crime, abuse. The Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the programme on October 11 under which students of Delhi government schools were to be provided guidance on career choices by citizens who are successful in their respective fields.

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The commission issued a notice to the Delhi government and asked to provide the compliance report with supporting documents within seven days.

After the NCPCR received a complaint alleging that the Delhi government’s Desh ke Mentor scheme can expose students to danger as it brought children and unknown persons together, it served its first notice on December 7. The Delhi government responded to the queries on January 3, 2022.

However, now on January 11, the NCPCR issued a notice to the state government stating that “the response received from your office appears to be ineffectual in completely dousing the safety issues pertaining to the exposure of children towards unknown people leading to potential crime/abuse”. The commission has asked to shut it down immediately “until all the loopholes pertaining to the safety of children are overhauled”.

Drawbacks of Desh ke Mentor scheme

According to the NCPCR, there is no police verification of mentors, no step taken to ensure safety of students, and psychometric tests in the selection process are among the major drawbacks of the scheme.

“It has been stated in the response that ‘to protect against violation, mentees are assigned mentors who are from the same gender’, it is imperative to place here that abuse or assault, sexual or otherwise, is not gender biased,” NCPCR in a notice issued to Delhi government said.

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“Same-gender does not necessarily assure the safety of any child in any terms. It can also be pointed out here that the personnel involved in dealing with the scheme does not seem to be gender sensitized,” the notice added.

The letter received from the Delhi government is silent on the question of police verification and hence it seems that no police verification is being done of the mentees to ensure the safety of the children, the NCPCR said.

The commission further pointed out that the interaction between the mentor and the mentee is done through phone calls and said child-related crime can be initiated through phone calls as well. Parents consent does not help in preventing violence or abuse against children, it added.

It also asked if the registration process that includes psychometric tests of the mentees before they are accepted into the program, "a full-proof assessment of a person in terms of potential threat to any child?”

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