THE CHILD RIGHTS MANIFESTO

Put Children First!

THE CHILD RIGHTS MANIFESTO
16th General Elections
2014

Child Rights and You (CRY) call on all political parties to become campaigner
of rights of all children in India.

India,
with about 430 million children, has the world’s largest child population with
every sixth child in the world today referring to India as ‘home’. Although
children constitute over a third of India’s population, they are
accorded a low priority in national policy and governance decisions.

 

Child Rights and You (CRY) call on all political parties to become campaigner
of rights of all children in India.

India,
with about 430 million children, has the world’s largest child population with
every sixth child in the world today referring to India as ‘home’. Although
children constitute

over a third of India’s population, they are
accorded a low priority in national policy and governance decisions.

A
cursory glance at the current status on some of the child-related indicators in
India

  •  Every second child in India is malnourished
  • The child sex ratio is at the lowest it has ever
    been with just 914 girls for every 1000 boy
  • 47 out of every 1000 children die before
    completing their first year of life
  • 4 out of every 5 children  aged 6 – 35 months are anaemic
  • Only about half of the children in India
    (54%) receive full immunization
  • Net Enrolment Ratio at the Upper Primary
    Elementary Level is less than 60
  • National Dropout Rate at the Elementary Level is
    over 40%
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio at the Secondary Level is
    below 50%
  • Girls have 61% higher mortality than boys at age
    1-4 years
  • Nearly 45% girls get married before the age of
    eighteen years

Even
after six decades of independence and vibrant economic growth rate, India has
drastically failed to uphold the rights of its children. It is
highly unfortunate that children are not top priority and issues related to
children are not debated enough in political spaces.

CRY
(Child Rights and You), a non-government organization working on the issue of
child rights in India for last thirty four years, believes that concerted
efforts are needed to ensure that children’s issues and concerns are heard and
put on priority. Through this manifesto, CRY hopes to remind politicians about
the Government of India’s national and international obligation to take all
appropriate measures in ensuring that children’s rights are promoted and
protected. The manifesto also aims to sensitize all stakeholders that it is
time that we demonstrate our commitment as a nation to our children and that
develop a zero tolerance towards children’s rights not being protected or
realised.

CRY
urges political parties and governments in power to take heed and ‘Put children first’ and include the
following commitment suggestions that can impact over a third of this nation’s
population, when designing their own election agenda.

  1. Harmonise the age definition for all child-related legislations in
    line with National Policy for Children 2013 where child is any person
    below the age of eighteen years.
  1. Ensure Right to Education is fully exercised as fundamental right and Amend and expand the scope of Right
    to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009
    such that: All
    Children between 6-14 years get enrolled, regularly attend Elementary
    school and avail quality education. Also all children from 0-6 years and
    14-18 years should come under the purview of the Act.
  1. Strengthen implementation
    of
    Integrated Child Development
    Scheme (ICDS)
    such that all six services viz Supplementary nutrition,
    Health Check-up, Immunization, Nutrition & Health Education,
    Pre-school non-formal education and referral services are effectively
    functioning. Also ensure that there is an adequate investment carried out
    in decentralized planning, universal coverage and trained personnel.
  1. Reduce child mortality and morbidity and ensure no child remains
    malnourished
    through carrying out sustained efforts
    towards complete immunization, regular health check-ups and growth
    monitoring, proper nutritional support and health counselling of all
    children under 18 years.
  1. Declare the Right to Primary Health care for Mothers and children as
    a Fundamental Right
    in the Constitution of India and strengthen
    Primary Health Care systems and child health amongst the urban poor.
  1. Ensure Food security at household level for all marginalized groups of people
    with proper implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 and
    consider amendments  i) increasing
    the protein/fat intake for pregnant mothers and children to 20-25 gms
    (according to Supreme court order) instead of current provision of 18-20
    gms ii) including services
    such as immunization, health check-ups etc
    which have been part of the ICDS as part of the Bill iii)making provision
    of supplementary nutrition for 14-18 age group children.
  1. Amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2012: to
    abolish all forms of child labour by removing the distinction between
    hazardous and non-hazardous categories of work for all children up to age
    18 years.
  1. Invest adequately in ensuring protection for children by: i)
    implementing policies and programme that protect children from abuse,
    violence and exploitation; ii) investing in appropriate referral services
    for the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of abuse,
    violence and exploitation; investing in creating a cadre of trained
    professional iii) creating robust monitoring of implementation of child
    protection mechanisms, schemes and policies iv) creating a proper data
    base for child trafficking, street children, missing children and ensuring
    fully functional newly developed child tracking system – ‘Track child’.
  1.  Ensure Gender Parity,
    Social Equity, and the rights of Children with disabilities
    with
    providing equal opportunities for all social group – SC, ST, Minority
    group and urban deprived groups. Become more responsive to need of girl
    child and children with disabilities.
  1. Allocate sufficient Budget for Children (BfC)
    allocations by increasing the allocation from 4.64% to at least 10% of total Union Budget. Also introduce a child
    budget component in the budget of all allied Ministries and ensure
    effective National, State and District-level management and utilisation of
    outlays/ budgets

The
best interest of the child needs
to be put at the centre of all policy, legislation and practice
affecting their young lives.
India’s
one third population deserves demonstration of commitment as a nation. It calls
for action to express zero tolerance towards violation of children’s rights so
that every child attains happy, healthy and creative childhood.

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