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Status of children in India

With more than a third of its population below the age of 18, India has the largest child population in the world. This backgrounder explores the levels of health, nutrition, education and social security of children, and government policy and action on child rights


Who is a child?

By Asha Bajpai

The trouble with child rights begins with the very definition of a child in law. A child domiciled in India attains majority at the age of 18. But there are several grey areas in the law here. Under the child labour regulations, for instance, a child is a person under 14 years


'Nitharis will happen until child rights becomes the focus of national policy'

By Lisa Batiwalla

In the rights-based approach, children are viewed as citizens, entitled to all that has been promised to them under the Constitution of India and the United Nations Child Rights Charter, rather than as objects of sympathy or charity, says CRY CEO Ingrid Srinath. But the Government of India's approach to children, she says, continues to be piecemeal -- a bit of welfare, a dollop of rights and large scoops of reactivity


Stumbling from the start

The Achievements of Babies and Children (ABC) Index measures four very basic aspects of child wellbeing - survival, immunisation, nutrition and schooling. India scores no more than 66% overall. But states such as Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, and even Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have made rapid strides in child development. What is the key? The rights-based approach and outstanding records of active state involvement in the provision of health, nutrition and education services.


Childcare as a social responsibility

By Jean Dreze

The rights approach, which led to wider acknowledgement of elementary education as a fundamental right, contributed to the rapid expansion of school education in the 1990s. The rights approach should also be used to ensure the survival and wellbeing of children under 6, by demanding universalisation of the Integrated Child Development Services, the only major national programme aimed at this age-group


What does the budget have to do with children?

By Ajay Kumar Sinha

Everything. Analysing trends in the government's allocation and expenditure on child-specific programmes and schemes is one way of holding the government accountable on its commitment to children. Though the percentage share of children in the Union budget has gone up from 1.2% in the 1990s to 4.91% in 2006-07, there is still quite a gap between need and allocation, and allocation and actual spending


The battle for survival

By Kiran Moghe

The declining sex ratio was pointed out as far back as 1974. But it was only taken seriously after the shocking revelations of Census 2001. How can the female foetus and the girl-child be protected? Preventing sex-selective abortion by law is one way. But it cannot be the only way


Street dreams

By Neeta Lal

Vicky Roy, an insider who has lived on the streets, been a dhaba-boy and a coolie, captures the daily battle for survival of Delhi's streetkids. This is his story, a story of how the right intervention can transform lives


'Foot soldiers for our mothers

By Debolina Dutta And Oishik Sircar

Children in Kolkata's Sonagachi red-light district have formed Amra Padatik, a collective to work for the dignity of their mothers and to claim their rights as children. In this interview, AP's President Gobinda Saha and Secretary Chaitali Pal talk about the discrimination that dogs their lives and their work as young activists



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