There are over 50,000 orphans currently in India who have been abandoned by their parents and neglected by their government. In-country adoption as well inter-country adoption has fallen by 50 per cent in the last five years. Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, addressed the national meet on adoption organised by Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). At the meet she came down hard on the "idleness and deliberate lying" of adoption agencies around the country.
She said it was shameful that the country has such a fast growing population of orphans, and that she wants 15,000 children adopted per year. Those agencies that fail to comply will be immediately shut down.
What adds to the grim situation is the disparity between states within the country. South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have still maintained a relatively high rate of adoption. However, states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa and Uttarakhand along with the eight North Eastern states have recorded horrendously low adoption figures.
According to an RTI request Maharashtra has the highest rate of adoption in the country, despite the downward trend. While 1,606 children were adopted in 2010 from Maharashtra, the figure fell to 1,212 in 2013. Tamil Nadu came in second with 693 in 2010, however, falling to 216 in 2013. On the other hand only four children were adopted from Meghalaya in the last five years. From Chandigarh only nine children have been adopted between 2010-2014 and from Uttarkhand only 26.
In terms of foreign countries adopting Indians, the United States has adopted 672 children from India in the last five years. The figures fell from 221 in 2010 to 140 in 2013.
In total 21,736 children were adopted in the last five years, of which 2,156 were adopted by foreign nationals.
Officials say the low rate of adoption in North Eastern states is due to the lack of government-recognised adoption agencies. In states like Bihar, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh registered agencies do not exist, thus resulting in the poor adoption rates.