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'Most orphans in three states'

Tuesday July 26, 2011 09:52:09 PM, IANS

New Delhi: 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 further said.

"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.








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