New Delhi: In a bid to simplify adoptions by foreign nationals in India, the External Affairs Ministry has asked all its passport department offices to accept the date of birth of the child mentioned in the court order and not insist for a birth certificate.
According to the MEA circular, passport authorities can now accept the date of birth recorded in court order, attached with a copy of an NOC from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which is the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and monitors in-country and inter-country adoptions, to issue passport.
The MEA's direction came after the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry wrote to it, highlighting that some abandoned and orphan inter-country adopted children are facing difficulties in obtaining birth certificate which is a mandatory requirement for obtaining passport.
"The matter has been examined in this ministry (MEA) and to mitigate the problems faced by such children, it has been decided that for the issuance of passports to abandoned, orphan inter-country children, passport authorities may either accept copy of birth certificate or the date of birth as recorded in the court order which should be accompanied by a copy of NOC of CARA bearing date of birth of the adopted child, as his birth proof," the MEA circular dated March 19 said.
In the circular, MEA also noted that in spite of various measures, some abandoned and orphan inter-country adopted children are facing difficulties in obtaining relevant documents necessary for obtaining passport.
Indian government, as per the provisions of the Hague Convention, had asked all its passport department offices to expedite the process of issuing passports to inter-country adopted children.
The MEA had also waived the requirement of police verification for such children in the past.
Addressing the national meet on adoption organised by CARA recently, Union WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi had expressed concerns over the show rate of adoptions.
The adoption rate of 800 to 1,000 per year in India, which has around 50,000 orphan children, is "shameful" she had noted adding that she wants more and more children to be adopted per year failing which the worst performing adoption agencies will be shut down immediately.
Adoption reforms is the top most item on the priority list of the minister who has also proposed amendments in the new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 aimed at strengthening CARA and expedite adoptions.