Three Indian states -- Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and
Chhattisgarh -- have the highest number of orphaned and abandoned
children in India, according to a study.
"The central zone has approximately six million orphan children
under the age of 18 and this figure will shoot up to 7.6 million
by the year 2021," the study by the NGO SOS Children's Villages of
India said Tuesday.
This is closely followed by the east zone, comprising Bihar,
Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal which have approximately 5.2
million orphans, and the number is estimated to increase to 6
million by 2021, it added.
"Together, the central and east zones constitute the poverty and
child vulnerability belt of India," the study said.
The south zone has approximately 3.47 million orphans, the north
zone has 2.70
million and the west zone has the lowest number of orphan children
in the country - at 2 million.
"The poverty belt of India contributes significantly to the large
number of orphan children in India. Migration of men from villages
to urban slums is a continuous process and most of the migration
pattern is forced migration for survival or rebuilding lives, thus
depriving children of parental care," the study said.
Rise in the number of children infected by HIV/AIDS is also
significantly contributing to orphaning of children, the study
"Governmental and non-governmental agencies working on child
rights must jointly work
towards addressing the needs of these children by providing them
with nutrition, education and protection," Rakesh Jinsi, secretary
general of the SOS Children's Villages of India said.
"Corporates too need to come forward and actively support child
sponsorship programmes of NGOs that reach out to the children in
need," he added.
According to the NGO, India has approximately 422 million
children, of which 83 percent below the age of 18 live with both
their parents, 11 percent live with their mother but not their
father, two percent live with their father but not their mother
and the remaining four percent live with neither parent.