New Delhi: Coming down on what she termed the "idleness and deliberate lying" of adoption agencies, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today asked them to complete the adoption process within four months.
The Women and Child Development Minister said the adoption rate of 800 to 1,000 per year in India, which has around 50,000 orphan children, is "shameful" and that she wants 15,000 children to be adopted per year failing which the worst performing adoption agencies will be shut down immediately.
"I am actually appalled by all of you. I have found bottlenecks, idleness, unconcern, deliberate lying... In this process you have destroyed thousands of lives," she said.
The Minister was addressing the national meet on adoption organised by CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) here today.
"When I joined in 2000, the adoption rate was 1,500-1,200 which tumbled to 400-800 per year. In a country which has got 50,000 orphans that can be adopted, it is shameful that the number is 800 to 1,000,... And it continues to come down," she lamented.
"We have found, for instance, the Child Welfare Committees do not do home-checks up to two years. By that time the child becomes unadoptable. We have found that you are lying, you say there is no child, when your orphanage is full of children," Gandhi said.
The minister instructed the adoption centres to complete the process in four months and that agencies who claim they have no children will be immediately shut down.
She further said the Women and Child Development Ministry is ready to help the adoption centres but it depends on the initiative taken by them.
"So far you have been irresponsible and unaccountable and that is the truth of the land. We are ready to provide all kind of support but it depends on how much initiative you take," she said.