A digital app that allows users to file complaints against violations of child rights has been relaunched this week in Maharashtra and looks to enable action to be taken promptly and easily for those children found living on the streets or those whose rights are being violated.
CHIRAG app is a government-led initiative supported through the Maharashtra State Commission for the Protection of Child’s Rights (MSCPCR) and was launched last year by the Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde. This week however the app has been relaunched after more funding was secured to increase awareness around it.
On the need for such an app, The Hindu reports Munde as stating, “Violation of children’s rights in their homes is a pressing problem. The voices of these children are silenced by people they know. CHIRAG is the medium through which we can address these issues as one can file complaints on it and the officials on the other side can conduct investigations into the same.”
The procedure used by the app to report cases of child neglect, exploitation and violation has been adopted by NGO Save the Children who work on an international level protecting the world’s children.
The relaunch comes as the state government has pledged to allocate better resources and increased funding to ensure that more is done to protect the state’s vulnerable children. “We will provide the required funds to appoint qualified staff to monitor the app who can take prompt action on the complaint,” Munde told Hindustan Times.
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According to the app, if you encounter a child living on the streets, then the first thing you should do is inform the Child helpline-1098 who will be able to advise you further. In addition, the app will allow users to contact people with the right authority working on ground, who will be able to take immediate action.
In instances where a child is spotted alone on the streets for example, citizens can directly inform authorities in the vicinity of the child’s location through the app. In instances where a child is found at a railway station, the app will allow users to contact the railway police posted at the station who will be able to investigate the inquiry further, and take necessary action to help the child. For children found in malls or stores or within public places, the app will alert the relevant management who can offer help and assistance.
The app can also be used to report serious violations such as sexual abuse, corporal punishment, physical abuse and harassment. Users can also learn about the rights of a child, current child protection laws in place and access a directory of government officials working in child protection. With the help of the app, the state hopes to abolish child trafficking by 2020.
The app can be downloaded on for Android via the playstore here.