Way forward

  • A detailed child protection policy, guidelines, and action plan must be designed to protect children from various forms of vulnerabilities emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be effectively implemented in coordination with various bodies, volunteers and civil society organisations.
  • A standard and clear policy on learning and education during the pandemic must be prepared keeping in mind the best interests of all children and must be followed uniformly and without discrimination across government, aided and private schools/systems.
  • The Village Child Protection Committee Program under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme must be effectively implemented in partnership with school teachers and civil society organisations. This committee should ensure access to services, monitor and prevent violations like child abuse, child marriage, child trafficking and child labour and create awareness on the rights of children.
  • Special child care protection must be provided to the children of migrant workers and all frontline workers including sanitation workers, ASHA workers and other essential workers.
  • A monitoring system and periodic audits must be put in place to track the welfare of children in child care institutions and juvenile homes. Children in these institutions must have access to regular health screening and counselling services.

It is true that Covid-19 is not caused by governments but it has evolved as a disaster because of our governance or the lack of it. We will overcome the virus sooner or later but at what stage Covid-19 ceases to be a disaster remains to be seen. Surely, its impact will linger longer on those who have lost their family.