Panaji, Feb 11 There are an estimated four crore street children in India, and a separate ministry for children and a special cell for street children were among the recommendations of participants at the 'Difficult Dialogues' conference on gender currently on here.
Surina Narula, CEO of Difficult Dialogues, said the definition of street children was "street connected' and need not be homeless and orphans.
Narula said that instead of it being clubbed with women and children, there was need for a separate ministry. She added that female street children had a different set of problems and had to be addressed sensitively.
Sanjay Gupta, a Delhi based Social activist who works with street children, said there were about five lakh street children in Delhi and an estimated four crore in the country.
"Since there is no census of such children, this is a safe estimate. There is need for audit and evaluation to prevent underspending of budgetary allocation," Gupta said.
Rupa Kapoor, development consultant with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, informed that 'standard operating procedures' (sop) and a taskforce to implement policies had been set up. She admitted that there were difficulties in implementing these policies.
Former union minister Renuka Chowdhary said even though there was a Women and Child Ministry, many issues concerning women and children like health and education were in the jurisdiction of different departments.
Former IPS officer Meeran Borwankar said that there was need for improved conversation between police and street children in order to have child-friendly polic stations.
"Sensitisation should be in the training syllabus of railway police and the Railway Protection Force as they encounter street children on a daily basis," she said.