Child Rights- Status and way forward
You can start with quotes like:
“The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country.” – Jawahar lal Nehru
Childhood have profound impact on every aspect of life. Life of confidence, mobility, opportunities, self-esteem and dignity is engraved in childhood.
Current status and issues
- hunger living conditions
- child labour
- Child marriage
- discrimination against girls
- living conditions
- infant and child mortality
- abuse, torture and gross exploitation
- Child trafficking
The National Policy for Children, 1974- To address the emerging challenges relating to child rights. An advisory and Drafting Committee had been formed for the purpose.
Thrust Areas of the Policy
- Reducing Infant Mortality Rate.
- Reducing Maternal Mortality Rate
- Reducing Malnutrition among children
- Achieving 100 percent civil registration of births
- Universalisation of early childhood care and development and quality education for all children;
- Achieving 100 percent access and retention in schools including pre-schools;
- Complete abolition of female foeticide, female infanticide and child marriage and ensuring the survival, development and protection of the girl child;
- Improving water and sanitation coverage both in rural and urban areas.
- Securing for children all legal and social protection from all kinds of abuse, exploitation and neglect.
- Complete abolition of child labour with the aim of progressively eliminating all
- forms of economic exploitation of children.
- Monitoring, review and Reform of policies, programmes and laws to ensure protection of children’s interest and rights.
- Ensuring child participation and choice in matters and decision affecting their lives.
January 24th – the National Girl Child Day by MoWCD
November 14th- Children’s day
Constitutional Safeguards for Indian Children
- Article-15 & 15(1) The State shall prohibit discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex. Nothing in this article prevents the State from making any special provision for women and children.
- Article -21 A : The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age 6- 14years in such manner as the State may, by law determine.
- Article-24: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
- Article-39(f): the State to ensure that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that the childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
- Article-45 The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
- Article-243 G Provides for institutionalisation of child care by seeking to entrust programmes of women and child development to Panchayat (item 25 of Schedule 11)
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- GOAL 1: No Poverty
- GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
- GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
- GOAL 4: Quality Education
- GOAL 5: Gender Equality
- GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
- GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
1959- UN declaration of rights of the child
1992- UN convention on the Rights of the child ( CRC) defines the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children.
UN Rights of the child can be divided into eight groups:
|Sr. No||UN Rights of the child||Issues in india|
|1.||Right to survival, nutrition, and health||1.Adverse sex ratio
2. female foeticide
3. high IMR
4. High mal/under nutrition
5. high under 5 mortality rate
|2.||Right to development and education||1. High functional illiteracy
2. high drop out rate
3. low retention
4. stunted growth
|3.||Right to protection||1.Abuse of children
2.crimes against children
3. child in conflict with the law
|4.||Right to participation|
|5.||Right to expression|
|6.||Right to information|
|7.||Right to recreation|
|8.||Right to name and nationality|
UNGA special session on Children 2002-
Message by Children’s Forum– ‘we want a world fit for children because a world fit for us is a world fit for everyone.’
Legislations related to Children
The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 codifies laws for adoption and maintenance of both boys and girls and declares that the sons and daughters are treated equally in the matter of succession. The Act confers that a woman could adopt for herself in her own right.
The Pre-Conception and Pre- Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act- 1994 regulates the use of pre-natal sex determination techniques. Strictly prohibits determination of sex of foetus and female foeticide. The Act also bans the advertisement using pre-natal diagnostic technique for sex determination.
The Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act (ITPA), 1956 prohibits commercial sexual exploitation and all cases relating to prostitution registered under the Act. This Act defines a minor as a person between 16 to 18 years of age.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 prohibits the engagement of children in certain employments and regulates the conditions of work of children in certain other employments.
The Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and Amendment Act-2006 and 2015
- It formulates laws relating to juveniles in conflict with law (juvenile who is alleged to have committed an offence) and provide proper care and protection for children in need.
- The Act adopts child-friendly approach by catering to the development needs of the children and their rehabilitation in institutions established under law.
- This Act has been amended in 2006 to set up Juvenile Justice Board and Child Welfare Committees and compulsory registration of Child Care Institutions.
- The Act has been further amended in 2011 to remove discriminatory references to children affected by diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis, hepatitis-B etc. As per new provisions more power has been entrusted to Child Welfare Committee and Child Protection Units in each district of the State to oversee its implementation and provide care, education, training for rehabilitation of the children.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 aims to replace the existing Indian juvenile delinquency law, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, so that juveniles in conflict with Law in the age group of 16–18, involved in Heinous Offences, can be tried as adults.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
- It declares that if a male above 18 years of age contracts a child marriage shall be liable to be punished.
- The marriage performed in violation of the Child Marriage Restraint Act is an unlawful marriage.
- Section 5 of the Act punishes a person who performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall be liable to punishment, unless he proves that to the best of his knowledge the marriage in question was not a child marriage.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
- For the first time, a special law has been passed to address the issue of sexual offences against children.
- An Act to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of.
- Special Courts for trial of such offences has been provided.
Institutional Frameworks for Child Welfare
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):
- The prime objectives of the Commission is to review the safeguards provided for protection of child rights and recommends measures for effective implementation, spread child literacy, enquire into violation of child rights, look into the matters relating to distressed, marginalised and disadvantaged children without family, children of prisoners, inspect juvenile home and recommend appropriate measures
- The Commission undertakes periodic review of existing laws, policies and programmes on child rights and makes recommendations for their effective implementation in the best interest of the children.
NCPCR has five core essential management principles, viz. decentralisation, flexibility, institution building processes, convergence and listening to children and their voices.
The National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
- It is a premier organisation which acts as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development Department, Government of India to promote voluntary action, research, training and documentation on women and child development 1860 in the year 1966. The thrust areas of the Institute relates to child care interventions relates to maternal and child health and nutrition, early childhood care and education, childhood disabilities, positive mental health in children and child care support services.
The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India under The JJ Act, 2015.
- CARA which primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through recognised agencies.
- As per the provisions of Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions, 1993, CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with in-country and inter-country adoption of children.
Child Welfare Schemes
- It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Government of India for early childhood care and development.
- The prime objective of the programme is to lay foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child, improve health and nutritional status of children below six years of age, reduce infant mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropouts, achieve effective policy implementation to promote child development and enhance capability of the mother to look after health and nutrition, education and other needs of her child.
- The international agencies like UNICEF, USAID, DFID and CARE India serve as development partners to provide technical and other supports to ICDS for its effective operation.
The National Policy on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is to provides operational guidelines for strategic implementation.
The Kishori Shakti Yojana/sabla is an adolescent girl’s scheme. The objective of the scheme is to increase self-confidence, boost morale and give dignity to the adolescent girls. The scheme includes two schemes such as Girl to Girl Approach and Balika Mandal Scheme.
Schemes for Health and Nutrition of Children:
- The Nutrition component of Prime Minister Gramodya Yojana and Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls
- A National Nutrition Mission
- The Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme
- Universal immunisation programme
- Mission Indradhanush
- Prophylactic programmes for prevention of micronutrient deficiencies relating to Vitamin A and iron,
- Anaemia control programme,
- Integrated Management of Neonatal and childhood illness,
- The Reproductive and Child Health Programme
In India under nutrition is still the major problem; about 18 percent of preschool children and about a quarter of school children are undernourished.
Integrated Child Development Services and school Mid Day Meal programme cover all children up to 14 years of age.
Weight, height and Body Mass Index (BMI) for age are three anthropometric parameters widely used for assessment of nutritional status in children.
Early detection of current energy inadequacy (low BMI) and its correction can reverse wasting and prevent stunting; this is critical because stunting cannot be reversed.
Stunting in childhood leads to low adult height and in women leads to for lower birth weight in their offsprings – the trans-generational impact of childhood under-nutrition.
The majority of Indian stunted children have appropriate weight for their height (normal BMI/age); increased energy intake may make them prone to over-nutrition.
Under-nutrition in early childhood followed by rapid increase in body mass index in early/ late childhood/ adolescence may predispose to over-nutrition and noncommunicable diseases in early adult life.
Schemes for Education of Children:
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 school infrastructure, Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR), training to untrained teachers, quality interventions are prescribed under the Act.
- The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Scheme (SSA)
- The Mid-day meal Scheme
- The National Programme for education of girls at elementary level
- The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme
- The Schemes for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM)
- Model School Scheme (2008),
- Rastriya Madhymika Sikshya Abhiyan (2009),
- Inclusive Education for Disabled (2009),
- Construction of Girls Hostel for secondary and higher secondary schools (2009)
- Jawahar navodaya vidyalaya
Schemes for Rehabilitation:
- The Integrated programme for Street Children by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment seeks to prevent destitution of children who are without homes and family ties and are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
- The Integrated Programme for Juvenile Justice seeks to provide care and protection to the children in difficult circumstances and in conflict with laws.
- The Child helpline is a toll free telephone service (1098)
- The Child Budgeting identifies budgetary allocations of Central and State Governments to address specific needs of children through child specific programmes, identify major constraints for effective utilisation;
- The Elimination of Child Labour Programme implemented by the Ministry of Labour, Government of India sanctions rehabilitation of working children and elimination of child labour.
- The Shishu Greh Scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare to promote adoptions of abandoned/ orphaned/destitute children within the country and ensure minimum standards of care for children.
- Combat Trafficking of Women and children
- Awareness generation campaign – Beti padhao Beti bachao
- Smile india campaign
The Supreme Court gave directives for providing services to combat hunger and malnourishment in “PUCL vs. Union of India and Others, Writ Petition (Civil) 196 of 2001” that sought legal enforcement of right to food.
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) is being rolled out in all States and the districts and this holds a promise of offering universal coverage of protective measures for children in difficult circumstances, as well as to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities children have in various situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children.
The inherent resistance of the mind to associate criminality with childhood has led to the coining of the term ‘juvenile delinquency’ in place of ‘child crime’.
Delinquency is a precise legal term. It defines the legal status of a child offender. A child is a delinquent as soon as he defies, by his action, the laws of society. It is therefore necessary, as a measure of social defence to detect a child when he becomes delinquent, so that he may not go a step further, and stumble into the depths of total criminality.
NOTE: Use facts and concepts from the schemes and legal & constitutional provisions, Supreme Court Judgements to give your own opinions in the Body part of the essay.
India has a comprehensive legal regime and policy framework to protect the rights and interests of the children, greater momentum is required for effective implementation of these policies and programmes for well-being of the children by improving their level of education, health and nutrition etc. Above all a just and fair environment is desirable for all children at home, school or any other place, with growing mind and body to see a shining tomorrow and ultimately to become responsible citizens of India.
The way forward- The legislations are to adhere to principles of universality as against targeting equity and social justice to cover all children up to 18 years of age. Special provisions for affirmative action for the disadvantaged children are to be included in all legislations, in the framework of rights and universal coverage to ensure – ‘a world fit for children’
Other ways of concluding:
India of my dream
Gandhian vision of India
Note– These are just indicative points, always brainstorm, use essay techniques and current affairs to add latest developments and diversity.