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Unofficial Welfare Centres thrive

Unofficial Welfare Centres thrive
Highlights

As one strolls through the streets of the city, one is sure to find scores of institutes that claim to take care of women and children and their well-being. Not surprisingly, a majority of them are private entities. In the undivided Andhra Pradesh, based on 2011 statistics, there were close to 2,000 such institutes while currently approximately half of them are in Telangana.

Rules were framed to track missing children. However, institutes are not keen on getting licenses; if they get one, the children can be tracked and sent back to their homes, which could dent their funding

  • Only 13 women and child centres have official recognition
  • No action against unlicensed centres

As one strolls through the streets of the city, one is sure to find scores of institutes that claim to take care of women and children and their well-being. Not surprisingly, a majority of them are private entities. In the undivided Andhra Pradesh, based on 2011 statistics, there were close to 2,000 such institutes while currently approximately half of them are in Telangana. However, going by the records available with the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD & CW) department, despite a mandated ruling, roughly 13 institutes are licensed.

The rest, ‘technically’, don’t exist, even though they have been operating since years. Going by the guidelines set up in the Andhra Pradesh Women and Child Welfare Institutes (licensing) Rules 2010, which came into force in June 2011, the WD & CW authorities have powers to take control of the property and the inmates along with seizing the movable and immovable assets, in case the institute fails to procure a valid license. The management is also liable for prosecution.

However, in the past three years no such cases have been registered and unlicensed firms continue to make hay.Though the rules stipulate that the institutes should operate on a ‘no profit, no loss’ basis, it is known to all and sundry that only a handful of them go by the rule-book. Most of these institutes are run through funding which comes from domestic avenues and abroad.

The rules also state that any details of foreign funding and visits have to be duly notified to the WD & CW department and no such effort is made by the institutes. There is widespread argument that few institutes are earning good money through funds and if registered, their accounts would be open to audit by the authorities, which they aren’t keen on.

According to Subash Chandra, an associate of CARPED, “rules were framed to track missing children. However, institutes are not keen on getting licenses; if they get one, the children can be tracked and sent back to their homes, which could dent their funding.”

“The rules make government-run and aided institutes licensed by default. So strictly speaking very few private institutions have applied for the license with the WD & CW,” informs an official with the department. The license is given for a period of three years and can be renewed.

“The rules would bring all institutions related to care, protection and welfare of women and children in the State under the Licensing Act and ensure that they adhere to instructions, guidelines and minimum standards,” said the then Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Suita Laxma Reddy, when the rules came into effect. However, the laxities on the part of both institutes and authorities have ensured that the rules, though mandated, are flouted and hence serve no purpose.

By:Aditya Parankusam

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