Replying to a written question in the upper house, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said the government has itself not made any estimate about the number of street children in the country.
However, a rapid assessment survey of street-involved children carried out by Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR), New Delhi, and Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai, has shown that the number of street-involved children in New Delhi is 69,976.
Gandhi said the central government was taking several measures to prevent substance abuse by children, including services for rehabilitation of addicts.
The government is implementing the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, which prohibits selling of tobacco products to those below the age of 18 years and within 100-metre radius from the outer boundary of an institution of education, she said.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is also implementing a centrally-sponsored scheme, namely, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), from 2009-10 for children in difficult circumstances, including children who are victims of substance abuse.