ORPHANED & HOMELESS.
ABANDONED by their parents and now neglected by governments -- there is no end to the suffering of over 50,000 orphans in India. The adoption rate within the country as well as those by foreign nationals in India has gone down by nearly 50 per cent in the last five years. What adds to the grim situation is the disparity between South Indian states and the rest of the country in terms of adoption of children. While South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have still maintained relatively high rate of adoption, states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa and Uttarakhand, along with the seven North-Eastern states, have recorded abysmally low number of child adoption. As per government records, 6,321 children were adopted in 2010. However, the number of adoptions came down to 4,354 in 2013. "Only 1,622 children were adopted during April-September in 2014," stated an RTI reply by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), which is the nodal agency for in-country and intercountry adoption of children in India. RTI query Through the RTI queries, Delhi-based activist Narendra Sharma had sought information pertaining to children adopted within India and by the foreign nationals. The records show that 21,736 children were adopted in India in the last five years while 2,156 kids were adopted by the foreign nationals. Officials said the low rate of adoption in North-Eastern states was primarily due to absence of government-recognised adoption agencies. States like Bihar, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh do not have any registered agency due to which adoption of children has taken a hit in these states. "There is no registered adoption agency in Bihar. The government has not issued licence to the applicants since 2003. Due to this, the agencies have not been able to facilitate adoption. Such is the government apathy that children adopted in Bihar in 2007-08 have not been issued certificate by the local courts," said Rajesh Kumar, who runs Shanti Niketan Vidya Mandir, an adoption agency in Patna in Bihar. Experts said tedious adoption norms and slow judicial process further slowed down the adoption process. They said FIRs are registered in nearly 80 per cent of the cases and hence, adoption cannot be done without getting clearance from the local courts. "Since FIRs are registered in 80 per cent of cases, it is mandatory to obtain the consent of the local courts. Also, 70 to 80 per cent of cases pertains to girl child which deters the adoption agencies from being pro-active," said a social worker associated with 'SOS Children Villages of India', a registered adoption agency in Delhi. According to the RTI reply, Maharashtra has the highest rate of adoption despite the downward trend. While 1,606 children were adopted in Maharashtra in 2010, the figure came down to 1,212 in 2013. Similarly, Tamil Nadu was on the second spot with 693 adoptions in 2010. However, the figure came down to 216 in 2013. On the contrary, only four children were adopted in Meghalaya in the last five years. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, too, performed poor with just nine adoptions during 2010 to 2014. The hill state of Uttarakhand also recorded only 26 adoptions in five years. Among the foreign countries, the US has adopted 672 children from India in the last five years. Of these, 221 children were adopted in 2010 while the number reduced to 140 in 2013.
As per government records, 6,321 children were adopted in 2010. However, the number of adoptions came down to 4,354 in 201
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