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India reduces fees for inter-country adoption

Fee relief for foreign adoption

New Delhi, Jan. 14: The Centre has waived a passport-related fee foreigners had to pay if they adopted children from India and wished to take them abroad, continuing with a drive to reduce adoption expenses.

The exemption means foreigners will no longer have to submit a surety bond of Rs 15,000 to get passports for their adopted kids.

"Surety bond is a financial guarantee of Rs 15,000 to be executed before a court for proper maintenance of the child abroad and, in the event of the child becoming destitute or the guardianship being terminated, for the child's return to India at the expense of the guardian or the guarantor," the ministry of external affairs said in a recent order.

 

The move aims to cut paperwork and red tape and boosts efforts by the women and child development ministry (WCD) over the past two years to usher in a more transparent adoption process.

"It has been felt that the requirement of a surety bond of Rs 15,000 needs to be revisited. Therefore, it has been decided to do away with the requirement of the submission of the bond," the order added.

The waiver was initially proposed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (Cara) in a set of guidelines issued in 2015. The authority, which is under the WCD ministry, said such a bond was not a pre-requisite to validate or complete inter-country adoptions.

Fresh regulations issued by the WCD ministry last week also do away with the bond. "The adoptive parents shall not be asked to execute any bond or make investments in the name of the child, considering the fact that their psycho-social profile and financial status have already been ascertained from the home study report and other supporting documents," the regulations stated. Home study report is a pre-adoption assessment carried out on the prospective adoptive parents.

Earlier, the adoption process also required such parents, both in India and abroad, to submit an investment plan and also put in a certain amount of money in the name of their adoptive child for his/her future security. The new norms have dispensed with this, too.

Sources in the WCD ministry said the passport bond was irrelevant as prospective parents from abroad were kept under scrutiny by the adoption agency for two years before the kid was handed over.

In case of disruption or dissolution of an adoption, the kid shall receive care, protection and rehabilitation through child-protection services of that country under an international treaty, the Hague Adoption Convention. India is a signatory to the treaty. The Indian mission shall render necessary help and, if required, facilitate the kid's repatriation.

The WCD ministry has been running a campaign to warn prospective adoptive parents, in India and overseas, not to fall prey to unscrupulous elements and pay more than what they are supposed to.

The Cara website lists the total fees - Rs 6,000 for the home study report, Rs 40,000 as adoption fee and Rs 2,000 for each post-adoption visit by the adoption agency's officials to the parent's home. These include all charges, including legal expenses, and nothing more needs to be paid.

Rs6000 = £73.17, Rs40 000 = £487.54 and Rs2000 = £24.38 as per Jan 2017

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