India's capital has nearly 70,000 children living on its streets. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has not made any estimate about the number of street children in the country.
A survey carried out by Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR), New Delhi and Don Bosco Research Center, Mumbai found that there are 69,976 street-involved children in New Delhi. The rapid assessment survey of street- involved children has come to the notice of the Government of India.
The Government is taking several measures to prevent substance abuse by children including services for rehabilitation of addicts.
Government of India is implementing the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 which prohibits selling of tobacco products to person below the age of 18 years and in places within 100 meter radius from the outer boundary of an institution of education, which includes school colleges and institutions of higher learning established or recognized by an appropriate authority.
Also the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985 lays down that a controlled substance shall be sold after the buyer establishes his identity and upon a declaration made about the purpose for which the controlled substance is being purchased.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, namely, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) from 2009-10 for children in difficult circumstances including children who are victims of substance abuse.
Under ICPS, financial assistance is provided to State Governments/UT Administrations, inter-alia, for setting up and maintenance of various types of Homes, including, Shelter Homes, Open shelters etc. These Homes provide inter-alia, shelter, food, education, medical attention, vocational training, counseling, etc. to such children so that they can ultimately reintegrate into the mainstream society.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is implementing "Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse" which provides financial assistance to eligible Non-Governmental Organizations, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Urban Local Bodies etc. for running Integrated Rehabilitation Centers for Addicts (IRCAs) to provide composite/integrated services for the rehabilitation of addicts which is inclusive for all sections of the society.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha.