Should the Adoption Rate in India be Increased?

By RimTim Staff Writer
May 20, 2016
Adoption in India

It is no secret that adoption in India is in a state of crisis. There are over 50,000 orphans in orphanages across India and the adoption rate in them has declined by 50 percent over the last 5 years.

The situation is worse in the North Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa and Uttarakhand and in the seven North-Eastern states, than in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. This is largely because of the culture in North India, which considers adopted children as inferior in many ways.

Rate of adoption in India

What is worrying though is that adoption rates in India are declining, despite the fact that there are a number of NRIs and foreigners who are willing to adopt children in India. According to government records, 6,321 children were adopted in India in 2010. In 2013, this number came down to just 4,354. 

Indeed, the story gets worse as the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) said in an RTI reply that “Only 1,622 children were adopted during April-September in 2014.” CARA is the nodal agency for both international and in-country adoption of children in India.

An RTI query was made to seek information on the number of children adopted by foreign nationals over the last 5 years. The records show that of the 21,736 children adopted in India from 2010 to 2014, only 2,156 were adopted by foreign nationals.

Adoption scenario in Indian states

States such as the North-East have low adoption rates because there is no government-recognized adoption agency to facilitate adoptions. The problem is particularly severe in Bihar where the government hasn’t even bothered to issue birth certificates to the children adopted there during 2007-08. There seems to be complete apathy towards the process of adoption in some parts of the country.

The adoption norms in India are shrouded in a maze of rules and regulations, which are difficult to navigate for most people, and the judicial process is too overburdened to speed up the process. Court cases are registered by the biological parents or relatives of the child in many cases, hence the adoption cannot be done without getting a clearance from the local courts – which is slow to come.

Maharashtra is the state with the highest number of adoptions, but that number has come down recently from 1,606 children in 2010 to 1,212 in 2013. Some of the worst performers were Meghalaya, where only 4 children were adopted in the last five years and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, which saw a mere 9 adoptions from 2010 to 2014.

US nationals (including those of Indian origin) have adopted the most number of children in India, adopting 672 children over the last five years in the country. But even here, the numbers have declined – Americans adopted 221 children in India in 2010 and only 140 in 2013.


Rules eased to increase adoption in India

The Government of India is aware of this and has attempted to change some of the existing norms to speed up adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals. The External Affairs Ministry in India has asked the passport department not to insist on a birth certificate for the child, but to accept the date of birth as mentioned in the court order. This had become a stumbling block in many adoptions in the past.

The government has also advised the passport department to speed up the process of issuing passports to the children adopted by foreign nationals so that they can be quickly taken to their new homes.

The government is working hard to address the situation and the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi said that she was deeply concerned over the slow rate of adoption. She said, “The adoption rate of 800 to 1,000 per year in India, which has around 50,000 orphan children, is shameful.” She warned that the worst performing adoption agencies would be shut down and agencies are expected to show better performance. With so many orphans throughout the county, the government should implement new policies With the increase in number of orphanages, adoption rate in India should be increased. Here’s what you should know about the process of adoption in India.

In India, you can adopt children under the following legislations:

Three key legislations

In India, one can adopt under three key legislations:

All adoptions in India should follow the procedure laid out by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), which is a part of the Government of India’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. You can visit their website to learn more about the adoption process in the country.