Mumbai: One of the studies revealed that more than 37,000 children live on the streets of Mumbai and a startling 25 per cent of them (more than 9000) go hungry every day.
The census, done by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Action Aid, shows that 15 per cent of street children have some form of addiction and 18 per cent of them suffer from some form of illness. It also says that two out of five street children face verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
"It is an indicator of a larger malaise that is we are not really practicing the policy of inclusive growth that we keep talking about," said Vijay Raghavan, Professor for Criminology and Justice at Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
The census was conducted across the 26 municipal wards in the city. The data was collected between November 2012 and February 2013. It was done in the shortest possible time to negate chances of children being counted more than once. The census recommends integrating street children into government programmes. "It will help the government in formulating policy so that various programmes and aid which is given will reach these street children," said Justice V M Kanade, a judge at the Bombay High Court.
It is highly recommended by the census to set up anganwadis where the street children are found more. It also asks for setting up of a task force to rescue and rehabilitate children and provide alternative housing to families living at perilous locations.
The Maharashtra government says it will consider taking policy decisions on the recommendations. "We will discuss it with them and sort the issue out by taking a policy decision," said Women and Child Development Minister Varsha Gaikwad.