Formation of Department of Children soon
Business Desk :
Despite the government promises and the recommendations of various quarters, the setting up of the Department of Children has been hanging on for a long time. However, the announcement for the set up of this department came in the current fiscal year of the budget. Additional budget allocation has also been made for the purpose. As a result, different local and international agencies and organizations working on children's rights are expecting that the new department will play a pivotal role in preventing violence against children and ensuring children's rights.
According to the statistics of various non-government organizations, the country has more than 70 million children. Though different ministries have undertaken various activities for the wellbeing of these children, the desired outcome are not being obtained. Concerned stakeholders have held the paucity of integrated plan responsible for it.
Organizations working on children's rights had a long demand for the setting up of a separate Department of Children to address this problem. The government had also pledged to take initiatives in this regard. In 2014, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Women and Children recommended the formation of a new department for the children. On the basis of those recommendations, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs made a proposal and sent it to the Ministry of Public Administration for the next course of action, but still there is no headway.
Concerned authorities said that the budget speech of the finance minister had lit the light of hopes for commencing activities of the directorate. In his budget speech for the new fiscal year, Finance Minister announced the establishment of the Department of Children to ensure the child welfare. For this purpose, in the current budget, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has been allocated more than Tk 71 crore compared to the last financial year. This time, Tk 3,860 crore has been allocated for the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs. In the revised budget of the last 2019-20 financial year, the allocation was Tk 3,789 crore. The budget also mentions plans to construct child complexes in all districts and set up child daycare centers in all upazilas.
German based donor agencies Kindernothilfe (KNH) Germany's Country Coordinator Maruf Rumi Mumtaz told that the initiative to establish children's rights was positive despite it was late. KNH is working with various local organizations including Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Street Children Activists Network (SCAN) on the issue. Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Mia, the chief advisor of the Parliamentary Caucus on child rights and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights with others took part in various programs. He hoped that they would play a vital role in accelerating the activities of the Directorate.
In this regard, the Chairperson of Bangladesh Child Rights Forum (BSAF) Mahbubul Haque said that BSAF is a member of seven inter-ministerial committees on child rights and child protection. In the light of having long work experience in those committees, it was recommended to form a separate children's directorate. There is no alternative to the Department of Children's Affairs to prevent violence against children and ensure the rights of children. This year's budget has given a clear announcement for the implementation of those recommendations. He hoped that the government would take necessary steps soon.