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CHIRAG - Lighting up the way for Child Rights

Smartphone app informs the public on child rights

Citizens cannot push for law enforcement if they do not know the laws of the land. To tackle this problem, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) and International Justice Mission developed “Child Helpline for Information on their Rights and Address their Grievances” better known as CHIRAG. CHIRAG (which also means lamp in Hindi) was launched by Mrs. Pankaja Munde, the Minister of Women and Child Welfare, Maharashtra. The innovative App allows users to report abuses against children. The Android version of the App was launched on 9 November 2016.

“CHIRAG is a necessary and important application in this mobile age. It will allow users to access information on legislations that protect children and address grievances,” said Sanjay Macwan, IJM’s Regional Director for North India. “MSCPCR and Department of Women and Child Development has done a commendable job to promote this application.”

With this App, users can access key legislations like The Right to Education Act 2009, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012, The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) 2015 and The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.

Additionally, there is information on the MSCPCR, including what it does, who its members are and how to contact them. Most importantly, CHIRAG enables direct contact to the MSCPCR. The “Complaints” button allows the user to submit a grievance to the MSCPCR immediately.

The MSCPCR was set up in July, 2007 to deal with various issues related to the rights and protection of children. The MSCPCR also plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of laws pertaining to Child Rights across the state of Maharashtra. The application was created because the MSCPCR noticed a general lack of awareness; of the laws in place, and its role. The MSCPCR enlisted IJM to assist with the design of the application and its testing and implementation.

Since its launch, the Android version has been downloaded 1,000 times. “Nowadays, every other person uses a smartphone and downloads applications. CHIRAG will enable people to reach out to the Commission and save children from abuse,” said Mrs. Pankaja Munde.