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/ India News / 2007 / June 2007 / June 19, 2007|
Kolkata registers its young street dwellers
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Civic authorities in Kolkata have registered thousands of its street children enabling them access to the states social security system.
Kolkata, June 19 : Civic authorities in Kolkata have registered thousands of its street children enabling them access to the state's social security system.
Civic authorities handed out birth certificates to about 50,000 street children in the city, a pre-requisite for access to any government welfare scheme.
The initiative was taken by voluntary organizations in collaboration with United Nation Children Fund, UNICEF.
"The aim of the programme is to register street and slum children who have not been registered and give them birth certificates," said Eimar Barr, Deputy Director Programmes, UNICEF.
The State civic authority handed over the certificates after verifying the list of children provided by the voluntary organization.
"This is a scheme undertaken by an NGO who works with street children. After a rigorous survey exercise they have provided us the name of these street children. We have cross-checked the names and found that they had no certificate," said Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, city's Mayor.
The children said that the certificate would entitle them to things they were deprived of.
"I have come here for my certificate. I need a birth certificate to make my voter identity card, to register myself in the State's social security schemes and school admission," said Muhammad Aslam, a street boy, receiving a birth certificate.
The scheme was launched in 2005 when Kolkata Municipal Corporation and UNICEF joined hands with 74 city based voluntary organizations to identify street children who are eligible but not registered in Kolkata.