[Answered] Evaluate the effectiveness of the “Scheme for Care and Support to Victims” in providing comprehensive support to minor pregnant girl child victims. What are the major oversights and inconsistencies in its implementation?

Introduction: Define the scheme

Body: Effectiveness and major inconsistencies in its implementation

Conclusion: Way forward

The “Scheme for Care and Support to Victims” launched in November 2023 aimed to be a game-changer for minor pregnant girls who are victims of sexual offenses. The objective is to provide integrated support and assistance to minor pregnant girl child victims “under one roof” and facilitate immediate emergency and non-emergency access to services for long-term rehabilitation.

Overall Effectiveness

  • Holistic Approach: The scheme attempts to provide integrated support across various aspects – financial assistance, medical care (including maternity, neonatal, and infant care), psychological counseling, and access to education.
  • Financial allocation: The new criteria for eligibility to the scheme allows monetary payment, to the victim & thorough analysis of health data and police data, all of which require increased budgetary allocation.

Major Oversights and Inconsistencies

  • Clarity and Consistency Issues: Critics point out a lack of clarity regarding benefits continuation in cases of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy (MTP). Additionally, the scheme seems unclear on how support changes when the victim turns 18 or encounters changes in personal circumstances.
  • Inconsistent References: There are discrepancies in how the scheme references existing legislation like the POCSO Act and MTP Act. This creates confusion for both victims and implementing agencies.
  • Limited MTP Discussion: The scheme offers inadequate guidance on MTP options, a crucial consideration for victims facing a difficult decision.
  • Uncertainty for Non-Institutional Care: It’s unclear what entitlements girls in non-institutional care are eligible for, creating potential gaps in support.
  • Inadequate Consideration of Maternity and Age: The scheme does not address the continuation of benefits if the girl turns 18 or if her circumstances change before she turns 23, as per Mission Vatsalya. This could leave some victims without necessary support during critical transition periods.
  • Categorization of CNCP: The scheme incorrectly mandates that all pregnant girl victims be categorized as Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP). This unnecessary categorization can lead to additional bureaucratic hurdles and might not be in the best interest of the victims or their families.

Conclusion

The “Scheme for Care and Support to Victims” has the potential to provide essential support to minor pregnant girl child victims but requires significant revisions to address its oversights and inconsistencies.

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