|Findings of the analysis
- Malnutrition :Only 5 out of 10 parties mention malnutrition in their manifestos
- Protection: Only 4 parties have included child protection issues in their manifestos
- Harmonizing age : None of the parties mention the same
- Education: All political parties mention education in their manifestos. NCP has a separate section on Educational Reforms
- ICDS Implementation: Only 5 out of 10 parties mention this
- Health as a fundamental right: Only one party (AAP) has included this
- Food Security: 6 out of 10 parties include this. Only CPI (M) talks about children in this context
- Amendment in Child Labour prohibition and regulation Act: Only 4 out of 10 parties mention this
- Gender Parity, Equity And Children With Disabilities: All 10 parties have mentioned aspects regarding this
- Resource Allocation: Only 4 out of 10 parties have shared committed resource allocation in terms of % GDP expenditure on Health.7 out of 10 Parties have committed for Education
*Party Manifestos analyzed include INC, BJP, DMK, AIADMK, CPI, CPI (M), SP, AITMC, AAP and NCP.
Only 5 out of the 10 major parties mention malnutrition in their election manifestos
New Delhi, April 23, 2014: The resounding promises to tackle the issue of malnutrition in the country have not been reflected or even gained a mention in the manifestos of most political parties, this election season. This, despite the grim statistics of nutritional status of our children we face today with every second child in the country being malnourished (NFHS -III, 2005-2006) and the situation being called a ‘national shame’ by the Prime Minister. As per the analysis of manifestos of 10 major political parties by CRY – Child Rights and You, only 5 have mentioned malnutrition in their manifestos.
The major political parties for the analysis included INC, BJP, DMK, AIADMK, CPI, CPI (M), SP, AIMTC, AAP and NCP. While Congress, CPI, CPI (M) and NCP have spoken about measures to reduce malnutrition and BJP has committed to eradicate malnutrition on a mission mode, parties like Aam Aadmi Party, AIADMK, DMK, SP, AITMC have no mention of tackling an issue as grave as malnutrition.
This election has witnessed issues like corruption, development, good governance, women empowerment and safety soaring high on electoral agendas for most parties. Children’s issues seem to be on the back burner yet again. Child right issues constitute on an average only 11% of the content of the manifestos. While the weightage given to children is better than 2009 manifestos, the issues that we have recognized remain essentially the same.
Despite the Congress announcing earlier this year that they will incorporate a separate section on children in their manifestos, they have failed to do so. Only four parties – BJP, CPI, DMK and CPI (M) have incorporated a separate section for children in their manifestos. However, there is barely any consistency in the issues covered in these sections, with some focusing on early childhood, others on protection issues, & still others only on education & skill development. Also, CRY’s analysis points out that a comprehensive perspective on children is lacking across parties. Only 4 out of 10 parties (INC, SP, CPI, CPI-M) have shared committed resource allocation in terms of % GDP expenditure on health, whereas 7 out of 10 parties (except for AIADMK, NCP and INC) have committed for Education.
Ms. Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY- Child Rights and You, says “Children constitute one third of the country’s population, yet they remain one of the most neglected segments by our political parties, because they do not form a vote bank. It is disappointing to see that grave issues like Malnutrition do not even gain an adequate mention in their manifestos”.
She added, “While it is good to see that some parties have included separate section for children, it is disappointing that there is no clear understanding of child rights on the whole. Considering that India ratified the UNCRC way back in 1992, it is shameful that Indian laws & lawmakers have not accorded them the status as citizens with their own rights and continue to talk about children as dependents & in terms of their entitlements with respect to aspects such as education, health and skill development.
Children need to be viewed not just as beneficiaries of specific schemes, or falling within the purview of specific ministries, but as living entities that are affected by steps, big and small, taken or not taken by various state functionaries, departments, and ministries. Of course their needs ought to be reflected in our plans for services like education, and health, but much beyond that, somewhere, how are we ensuring that we are investing in children who are not just the future but citizens of today. We will continue with our efforts to ensure that our leadership puts children first and hope that the new government to be formed will take into cognizance our demands and have a long term vision to ensure a life of dignity for every child in India”
As a part of its election advocacy Campaign ‘Vote for Child Rights’ CRY had presented their charter of demands to political parties and urged them to put emphasis on child right issues in their manifestos. Over 170 representatives of top political parties like INC, BJP, NCP, AAP, DMK, AIADMK, TMC, CPI, CPI (M) etc were met and the demands shared with them along with the status of the children in India report by CRY. These included prominent leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sheila Dixit, Oscar Fernandez, Dr. Harshvardhan, Shailendra Kumar, MK Stalin, Om Prakash Bidhuri, Shashi Tharoor, Harish Rawat, Ramkripal Yadav, Jitin Prasad and Manish Sisodia amongst others.
CRY – Child Rights and You (formerly known as Child Relief and You) is an Indian NGO that believes in every child’s right to a childhood – to live, to learn, grow and play. For over 30 years, CRY and its partners have worked with parents and communities to ensure Lasting Change in the lives of more than 20 Lakh underprivileged children. For more information please visit us at www.cry.org