India

The decline in adoption points to illegality, and trafficking: House panel

Concerned over the dwindling number of children up for adoption in the country, a parliamentary panel has expressed apprehensions that it may point to an illegal child adoption market and trafficking.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, in its 118th Report on Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws, presented to Parliament in the recently concluded Monsoon Session, observed that “the paradoxical situation where a large number of The number of parents willing to adopt a child, (and) on the other hand, there are not many children available for adoption.

The committee, headed by BJP Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi, said that as per the adoption data of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the number of adopted children in the country declined from 5,693 in 2010 to 3142 in 2020-21. The number of children adopted in inter-country adoption declined from 628 in 2010 to 417 in 2020-21.

This, the committee pointed out, “is a cause for serious concern”.

“The Committee expresses serious concern about the decline in the number of children coming to adoption agencies in the past few years,” the report said. “This decline, on the whole, points to trafficking or a thriving illegal child adoption market. The Committee is of the view that there is a need to increase surveillance, particularly on unregistered child care institutions and adoption agencies/hospitals. With a past record of smuggling.

The report said that according to information provided by CARA, 26,734 potential adoptive parents were registered with CARA as of December 16, 2021, and were awaiting referral for adoption in the country. Another 1,205 potential adoptive parents were awaiting inter-country adoptions as of that day, the report said.

According to information provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), the report states that the average time taken for potential adoptive parents to receive referrals for children in the age group of 0-4 years is around two years.

“The committee takes note of the paradoxical situation where on the one hand a large number of parents are willing to adopt a child, on the other hand, there are not many children available for adoption, all this while the 2020 World Orphans Report no. guesses. The number of orphans in India is 31 million,” the report said.

“In addition, as per the 2011 census, as per the information provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, there are 55,258 child beggars in the age group of 0 to 19 years in the country,” it added.

According to UNICEF, about 10,000 children become orphans every day. There are about 140 million orphans in the world.

In the given situation, the committee recommended that a “correct picture of the number of orphans/abandoned children” be ascertained through district-level surveys. This data should be updated regularly, it suggested.

“Besides reducing the time required to adopt a child below six months, the process needs to be further simplified. The committee is of the view that the long waiting period often compels the parents to adopt the child illegally,” the report noted.

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