Centre directs NIA to collect DNA samples of parents of missing children to ensure faster recovery

New Delhi: With police data showing that the number of missing children is on the rise in the country, the government has decided to make some changes at the policy level to trace the kids and ensure their reunion with the parents. According to top sources in the government, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been asked to work out a proposal under the supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the collection of DNA samples.

"DNA samples of missing children and parents should be collected to ensure subsequent matching and reunion. The NIA has been requested to work out a proposal and take it up with the home ministry," sources said.

 Centre directs NIA to collect DNA samples of parents of missing children to ensure faster recovery

Representational image. Reuters

According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), in 2015, more than 52,000 children went missing while in 2016, the figure was 56,154. If we analyse the data, the results are horrifying. More than 150 children go missing every day in India and the recovery rate, which is around half, is far from satisfactory.

The NCRB data further revealed that five kids went missing every day in Mumbai in 2016 while in Delhi, 18 had gone missing. Adding the data from previous year, the total number of missing children in Delhi were 14,461, while only 5,863 children were traced.

For human trafficking, the NCRB started collecting data from states in 2014. The latest data available is for 2016, which suggests that 4,980 victims of human trafficking were rescued from prostitution rings, 71 victims were rescued from begging and two were rescued from organ trade.

A sustained campaign was launched across states in five phases beginning 2015, through Operation Smile, Operation Muskaan, Operation Smile-II, Operation Muskaan-II and Operation Muskaan -III that ended in July last year.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development runs a national tracking system for missing children and photographs of recovered children by child care institutions and police are put up on its website to help locate the parents. According to the home ministry. in case a missing child is not recovered within four months from the date of filing the First Information Report, the matter is forwarded to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in each state to take up a more intensive investigation.

Once a child is recovered, the police authorities are told to carry out further investigation, to see whether there is an involvement of any trafficking in the procedure by which the child went missing and if, on investigation, such links are found, the police is require to take appropriate action.

The state authorities have been made responsible for arranging adequate shelter homes for missing children who are recovered and do not have any place to go to. So far, the concerned agencies have been conducting exercises to check all the unclaimed and unidentified children , who are kept under safe custody in various shelter homes of the government and non-governmental agencies, to match the details through photographs put up on government websites and various media platforms.

As far as cases under kidnapping and abduction for crimes against children are concerned, in 2016, a total of 52,253 cases were registered, charge sheet was filed in 18,242 cases and 2,188 persons were convicted across the country.

The home ministry is looking for a change in the existing system to ensure faster reunion of recovered kids with their parents and has also come out with a new set of guidelines for the collection, storage and transportation of DNA samples.

The draft note, accessed by Firstpost, reveals that the government is looking for a pan-India database to expedite pending cases. Besides being issued new kits for collection of DNA samples, the investigators have also been told to avoid excessive handling of evidence and are prohibited from using printed papers. Multi-barrier pouches are also being made available for buccal cell collection using the Whatman kit.

The note further said: "For health and safety concerns, do not touch the biological evidence with bare hands. Under no circumstances, wet or moist items should remain in plastic or paper containers more than two hours. The articles must be air dried before packaging them finally and it should not be dry stain by heating or placing in bright sun light."

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2018 13:27:29 IST