NEW DELHI: Absence of proper infrastructure, computers and poor internet connectivity in the police stations of many northeastern states have resulted in unsatisfactory and abysmal functioning of a national child tracing portal, TrackChild . In many cases, such inadequate infrastructure have led to stalling of updation of data in the portal which is aimed at searching missing children.

This issue was raised by representatives of state governments during a consultation on Track Child, organized by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry under its Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).

"Children going missing and trafficking is a very serious issue in Assam and rest of the northeast but our police stations have not been able to make proper use of the portal yet," said Assam Social Welfare Secretary H.K. Sarma.

Stating the reasons, he said "One of the reasons could be that many police stations don't have a proper computer system in place. Even if they have one, it is used in the daily activities of fighting militants and criminal activities. If the ministry can financially support our police stations to buy computer sets and put in place a proper system, things will move for the better”.

"Poor internet connectivity in the region is also another problem for police and officials concerned in using Track Child and this also hampers the investigation process," he added.

Sarma further stated that "records of northeastern states in tracking the missing children is bad so far. Data of missing children are uploaded in Track Child only at the CID headquarters in Guwahati, instead of police stations in the districts”.

Informing that about 9,500 children went missing from Assam alone between 2007 and June 2014, he said that out of these missing children, only 3,840 have been recovered from different places in the country either by police or NGOs working for children.

Track Child was launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in January 2012 and was designed and developed adhering to the guidelines provided in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Model Rules 2007 and the provisions laid down in the ICPS.

It was aimed at offering a common digital online platform to put up details including photographs of missing children and assist police, NGOs and other child care institutions across the country to track them.

One of the tasks entrusted under ICPS to the state governments is the setting up a system to facilitate data entry and matching of missing and found children, and also enable follow up of the progress of children who are beneficiaries of the scheme. The portal also ensures proper monitoring and welfare of the children under the scheme.

However, the northeastern region has lagged with only 190 of about 850 police stations in its eight states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim - putting up data of only 1,427 missing children, since the portal's launch.

One of the states, Manipur, where the project is yet to start faces similar problems. "Infrastructure (computer and internet) is still a problem but we are trying to start it soon," said an official of Manipur social welfare department.

Scores of children from poor background from these north-east states are usually trafficked out of the region on the pretext of providing good education and care.