Many are not aware they need to be registered
Many daycare centres functioning from houses and apartments are illegal as they are not registered with BBMP. It is mandatory to register these centres with the civic body.
Registration is almost nil as owners and parents who admit their children are unaware of the provision. BBMP turns a blind eye as they do not want to crack down or close down the centres, which benefit children.
A BBMP official who refused to give his name said: “Daycare centres are supposed to be registered with BBMP. They run illegally and are mostly set up in residential and commercial areas. We do not question them because they are spaces for children.”
Parents say they check only about the facilities provided in these centres.
Bavadharini D, a school teacher and mother of a two-year-old girl, informed The Observer: “A daycare centre is near my house, and it is easy for me to pick my daughter in the evening after work. This is the only factor I checked before admitting my daughter. I didn’t see if it was registered. Also, the caretaker in the centre lives near my house and I know her.”
Facilities for children are more important, said Loshini S, a computer engineer working in an IT firm and mother of a four-year-old. “I wanted my son to have a good play area. Another factor I was concerned about was the caretaker,” she said.
The guidelines for creches and daycare centres include procedures for registration; norms for the age group of children; number of children; safety of children; monitoring or supervision of creches; financial assistance for setting up a new creche; and upgradation of existing creches.
Home-based creche with just one or two children are exempted from registration.
Shabrin Taj, who runs Escalones Montessori & Day Care Centre, said: “The daycare centres should be registered with the local body, but I’m not sure if we have registered under BBMP.” She said officials do not visit the centre to conduct checks.
Prabha Narayanan of Cuddle & Care – Daycare & Activity Centre said the same. “The registration rule came only a few years back, and not many know about it. There was no awareness about it and we did not know where we have to go and register.”
Vasu Sharma, a former chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee, said: “Parents should pressure the government to make strong rules. Daycare centres should be evaluated every now and then for the safety of the children who are between one and six years. Safety of the child is very important.”
Did the Child Welfare Committee ask the BBMP to conduct a survey of how many daycentres or crèches exist? “We informed them but nothing happened. These centres should be registered to run legally but none do. (The official from ICPS says the same thing) Also, the government should have a written document to say daycare centres are to be registered and checked regularly,” Sharma said.
Daycare centres come under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the women and child development department. An official from ICPS informed The Observer it is mandatory for the centres to register themselves. “Registration is for the safety of the children. If they do not register, BBMP should take action against them,” she added.
According to a 2017 report in The Hindu, the guidelines were made mandatory for creches and daycare centres. The norms apply to centres set up in homes, corporate offices, local bodies, societies, boards and trusts. Those set up by individuals are also governed by the guidelines.
Only crèches are mentioned in the Karnataka Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Rules, 2019. The amendment has added Rule 6A which mandates to provide creche facility children up to six years of age for every establishment where more than 50 employees are employed. The other rules include: a creche facility shall be located within the premises of the establishment or within 500 meters from the entrance gate of the establishment; the working hours of the creche shall correspond with the working hours of the mother or parents of children; the creche shall maintain the health records of the children and also keep a record of teachers, caretakers and others.