CHIRAG App Review: Easy to Use and Report Child Rights Violations
With the growing use of smartphones and mobile applications in the country, the Maharashtra government in association with the State Child Rights Protection Commission launched the ‘CHIRAG’ mobile application to make it easier to submit complaints of child rights violations. CHIRAG which stands for “Child Helpline for Information on their Rights and to Address their Grievance” was launched in November 2016 by Maharashtra Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde and is currently available on Google Playstore. We downloaded the app to see how it works.
Currently the app is available only in English, which is surprising considering that it is heavy on content and one of the prime objectives being spreading an awareness about child rights. It needs to be available in local languages – Hindi and Marathi for better connect with the audience.
The app has a very simple layout with 8 categories – About Us, CPCR, Acts, Orders, Contacts, FAQs, Complaints and Partner which are displayed in neat icons on the home screen. All these options can also be accessed from the menu button on the top left corner of the app. It is easy to navigate with taps and scrolls, but it feels like a website packaged as an app.
The CHIRAG app consists of a lot of content but it fails to engage. There are big blocks of text and PDFs available for download in every category, but instead of user-friendly explainers, the content is full of notifications, acts and orders full of jargon and ‘court speak’.
The About Us screen consists of information on Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR), their vision, mission and a list of members and chairman of the commission along with their addresses.
The CPCR screen lists down the tasks of Commission for Protection of Child Rights and links out to PDFs of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights 2005 Act and scans of CRC notifications (edited with pen scribbles) packed in a PDF and listed at the end.
The Acts screen is the most impressive part of the app which opens with colorful images featuring happy children. Below the slideshow is a list of rights and laws related to children including –
• RTE (Right to Education)
• POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences)
• CRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child)
• Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016
• The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) 1986
• Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1956
• The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) 2015
• Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959
• Bombay Prevention of Begging (Amendment) Act 1966
• Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006
• The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013
Each of the above opens either in a clean PDF or in the new app screen itself.
The Orders screen consists of a list of years, 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and so on which when clicked upon takes you to the egov.co.in website which opens up in a browser. The page then shows various cases and their documents.
The Contacts screen shows a list of MSCPCR office staff details from chairperson to members, secretary to administrative officers, administrative officers to probation officers with their contact numbers.
The FAQs screen offers help on filing a complaint. Here are the questions it addresses –
• Who can file a complaint?
• What would be the nature of these complaints?
• Whom should the complaints be addressed to?
• What needs to be included in the application and what is the procedure for filing a complaint?
• What powers does the Commission have in case of complaints?
• What is the time line for passing of final order?
The Complaints screen includes the MSCPCR office address but below that is a form which allows anyone to file a complaint. It’s a simple form with three fields – Name, Email ID and Comment/Complaint and after filing the details and clicking submit, the complaint is sent to the commission which in turn directs it to police or a child-rights charity. As this action sends the complaint in the form of an email to the commission, internet connection is required.
The app ends with the Partners screen which is just information about International Justice Mission India.
Although CHIRAG app is easy to use and the complaint form is simple enough for anyone to report, the supporting elements – the Acts screen featuring legislations can do with some simplicity in the content. Also, featuring PDFs scribbled with pen, dodgy scanned documents packed in a file and some aspects opening in a browser are huge turn offs. It can do with some consistency and neatness.