A minor girl victim support scheme that loses its way

A minor girl victim support scheme that loses its way


Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development announced the “Scheme for Care and Support to Victims under Section 4 & 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.”

  • The scheme aims to provide comprehensive support and assistance to minor pregnant girl victims, offering immediate emergency and non-emergency services for their long-term rehabilitation.
  • However, the scheme’s name and implementation raise significant concerns and inconsistencies, prompting a need for thorough examination and rectification.

GS-02 (Government policies and interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • What is the Topic About?
  • About the Scheme for Care and Support to Victims under Section 4 & 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012

What is the Topic About?

  • The topic centers around the newly notified scheme by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which is intended to aid minor pregnant girls who are victims of sexual offenses under Sections 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012.
  • This scheme’s primary objective is to offer integrated care, addressing both immediate and long-term needs under one roof. However, the scheme’s formulation, coverage, and execution have sparked debate and highlighted various challenges and issues.

About the Scheme for Care and Support to Victims under Section 4 & 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012:

  • Overview and Intent: The scheme was initially designed to support abandoned or orphaned pregnant girls but has now been expanded to include all pregnant girl victims under the specified sections of the POCSO Act. Its goal is to provide comprehensive care, including medical, psychological, and social support, ensuring the well-being and rehabilitation of these vulnerable minors.
  • Key Provisions:
    • Integrated Support Services:
      • Immediate and long-term medical care, including prenatal and postnatal services.
      • Psychological counseling and mental health support.
      • Legal aid and assistance in navigating the judicial process.
    • Financial Assistance:
      • An initial payment of ₹6,000.
      • A monthly stipend of ₹4,000 until the age of 21, extendable to 23 years under certain conditions.
    • Educational and Vocational Training:
      • Continued education and vocational training opportunities to ensure future self-sufficiency.
    • Shelter and Care:
      • Institutional care for those without family support, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment.

Challenges and Issues:

  • Nomenclature and Scope: The scheme’s name does not accurately reflect its intent, leading to confusion. Although it aims to support all minor pregnant girls, it misleadingly implies that the benefits are restricted to a narrower category. This inconsistency could result in eligible victims not receiving the intended support.
  • Legal and Procedural Oversights: Several legal and procedural inconsistencies undermine the scheme’s efficacy:
    • Misinterpretation of Laws: The scheme incorrectly references Section 27 of the POCSO Act, which pertains to medical examination rather than placement decisions.
    • Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP): The scheme’s stipulations regarding MTP are impractical and not aligned with the MTP Act, potentially delaying critical medical interventions.
  • Implementation Gaps:
    • Categorization as Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP): The scheme requires all pregnant girls to be classified as CNCP, which contradicts existing laws that allow for alternative care arrangements if the family or guardian can provide adequate support.
    • Ambiguities in Care Provisions: The scheme does not clarify if the benefits for girls in institutional care also apply to those opting for non-institutional care, leading to potential discrimination and gaps in support.
  • Financial and Administrative Burden:
    • High Costs: Given India’s significant child marriage and teenage pregnancy rates, the financial burden on the exchequer is substantial. Without detailed planning and budgeting, the scheme could strain resources and fail to deliver on its promises.
    • Data Discrepancies: The scheme’s financial projections are based on limited data, necessitating comprehensive analysis to ensure accurate budgeting and resource allocation.

Suggested Measures:

Clarify and Expand the Scheme:

  • Revise the Nomenclature: Ensure the scheme’s name accurately reflects its comprehensive intent to support all minor pregnant girls.
  • Legal Alignment: Align the scheme’s provisions with existing laws and guidelines, particularly concerning MTP and CNCP classifications.

Strengthen Implementation Mechanisms:

  • Clear Guidelines: Develop detailed guidelines to clarify eligibility, benefits, and procedural requirements, ensuring consistent implementation across states.
  • Streamline Processes: Simplify administrative processes to expedite access to medical, legal, and financial assistance, minimizing delays and bureaucratic hurdles.

Enhance Monitoring and Accountability:

  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits and evaluations to ensure compliance with the scheme’s provisions and identify areas for improvement.
  • Data-Driven Planning: Utilize comprehensive health and police data to inform planning and budgeting, ensuring the scheme’s financial sustainability and effectiveness.

Broaden Support Services:

  • Holistic Care: Ensure the scheme provides holistic care, addressing not only immediate needs but also long-term rehabilitation, education, and vocational training.
  • Community Engagement: Promote community awareness and involvement in supporting minor pregnant girls, reducing stigma and fostering a supportive environment.

Address Underlying Issues:

  • Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Education: Enhance SRH education and services for adolescents, promoting informed choices and reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancies.
  • Preventive Measures: Strengthen child protection systems and preventive measures to reduce the incidence of sexual violence and exploitation.


  • The “Scheme for Care and Support to Victims under Section 4 & 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012” represents a significant step towards providing comprehensive care to minor pregnant girls who are victims of sexual offenses. However, its current formulation is fraught with challenges and inconsistencies that undermine its effectiveness.
  • By addressing these issues through clear legal alignment, streamlined implementation, enhanced monitoring, and a focus on holistic support, the scheme can fulfill its promise of providing meaningful care and rehabilitation to some of the most vulnerable members of society.