New Delhi: Government proposes to amend the Juvenile Justice Act to address the complex issue of crimes committed by juveniles and pave the way for making adoption easier, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday.
The proposed amendment would also bring in the concept of foster care to enable children to be placed with willing families instead of children homes, and the government would be ready to pay for this, she said in Rajya Sabha while replying to a discussion on the working of the Women and Child Development (WCD).
"The amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act will address complex issues of heinous crimes committed by juveniles as well as pave the way for making adoption of children easier in the country," the Minister said.
Gandhi also said an amendment to the National Commission for Women (NCW) Act would be another instrument to strengthen the institutional infrastructure for providing safety and empowerment to the women in India.
She also sought to allay the concerns of several members from various parties who had expressed unhappiness over the reduction in the budget of her ministry.
"The situation is not so bad", Gandhi said as she told the MPs that with increased allocations to states, she hoped that a lot of it would be directed towards women and children issues. She said her ministry was in touch with the Finance Ministry in this regard.
Several opposition members had, during the discussion, questioned Gandhi as to how she would meet the objectives of her ministry with reduced allocations.
Terming the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) as "alarming", Gandhi said the mindset of the society needed to be changed on many issues relating to women and children and "nothing less than a people's movement is required" to address them.
The CSR has declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and 918 in 2011, she said, adding that 100 critical low CSR districts have been identified for focussed action.
The government's 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative was launched after realising the need for urgent action, she said.