Desh ke Mentor Programme

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    • A controversy recently broke out after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) recommended that the Delhi government suspend its flagship ‘Desh ke Mentor’ programme till “the time when all the loopholes pertaining to the safety of the children are overhauled.

    About the programme 

    • The programme was launched in 2021: and is aimed at connecting students in classes IX to XII with voluntary mentors.
    • People between the ages of 18 and 35 can sign up to be mentors: through an app created by a team at the Delhi Technological University and will be connected with students based on mutual interests.
    • The mentorship entails regular phone calls for a minimum of two months: which can optionally be carried on for another four months.
    • The idea is for the young mentors to guide students through higher education and career options: preparation for higher education entrance exams, and dealing with the pressure of it all.
    • Optional for them to upload any proof of identity: The volunteer has to fill in information about themselves such as their date of birth, education qualification, profession, organization they work with and so on.
      • However, it is optional for them to upload any proof of identity.

    What are the concerns raised?

    • Safety from abuse: It has stated that assigning children to a mentor of the same gender as them does not necessarily assure their safety from abuse.
    • Lack of police verification: It has also expressed concern over the lack of police verification of the mentors.
    • On the psychometric test: Is this Psychometric Test a full proof assessment of a person in terms of potential threat to any child.
    • It has also stated that limiting interactions to phone calls also, does not ensure the safety of children since child related crime can be initiated through phone calls as well.
    • It has stated that taking the consent of parents is an essential prerequisite: the responsibility and accountability of preventing children from such situations lies with the Department.
      • The consent of parents cannot be used as a cushion in case of any untoward incident.

    Source: IE