Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 44 of the Convention
Third and fourth periodic reports of States parties due in 2008
[26 August 2011]
India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child presents the major initiatives that have been taken to ensure the rights of children. It also highlights the current status of children, efforts made to address their concerns and the challenges which are yet to be overcome.
India’s approach to protection and promotion of child rights derives from the Constitution of India. We have also in place legislation, policies and programmes for safeguarding the rights of children and especially, of the girl child. Our commitment to the children is reiterated continuously through the efforts to strengthen the framework for protection of their rights, which include establishment of a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2007, one of the few of its kind in Asia, to safeguard and enforce the rights of all children in the country, and the launch of a universal Integrated Child Protection Scheme in 2009-2010 based on the principles of ‘protection of child rights’ and ‘best interest of the child’. These endeavours reflect our commitment to safeguard and enforce the rights of children in our country.
While dealing with the complex dimensions of child rights, both in terms of numbers and in quality, there is a measure of satisfaction in addressing the overall challenges of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and access to primary health services. The expansion of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme; progress of the Integrated Child Development Services into the third phase of expansion; revamping of the rural public health infrastructure and rapidly-expanding social protection net through insurance schemes and pensions are some of the initiatives taken to ensure the survival, development, care and protection of our children. Finally, with the adoption of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, we expect to move closer to fulfilling the commitment of providing free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years within the next three years.
The Report, no doubt, continues to remind us of the challenges for the fulfilment of child rights in our country. We reiterate our solemn commitment to this goal and reaffirm our determination to translate the rights of all children into reality.
The preparation of ‘India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report’ on the Convention on the Rights of the Child would not have been possible without the valuable contribution of Ministry of Human Resource Development; Ministry of External Affairs; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Ministry of Labour and Employment; Minis try of Law and Justice; Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; Ministry of Tribal Affairs; Ministry of Rural Development; Ministry of Urban Development; Ministry of Environment and Forests; Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Panchayati Raj; Ministry of Minority Affairs; Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation; Ministry of Finance; all State Governments and Union Territories; Registrar General of India; Central Social Welfare Board; National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; National AIDS Control Organisation; National Council for Educational Research and Training; National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development; National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration; Central Adoption Resource Agency; National Commission for Minorities; National Commission for Women; National Commission for Scheduled Castes; National Commission for Scheduled Tribes; the UNICEF Country and State Offices, and many committed NGOs and members of the public.
I would like to thank UNICEF and, particularly, Ms. Karin Hulshof, Country Representative and Ms. Karuna Bishnoi, Child Rights Specialist. I would like to place on record the hard work and contribution made by Ms. Anju Bhalla, Director and Mr. C.K. Reejonia, Under Secretary of the Ministry for completion of this exercise.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development would also like to thank New Concept Information Systems Private Limited, for assisting the Ministry in the gigantic task of compiling and collating information from all over India that is presented in this Report.
Ministry of Women and Child Development
India has the largest child population in the world. The number of children under age 18, which was 428 million in 2001 and rose to 430 million in 2006, is projected to remain above 400 million in the coming decade.
India’s approach to protection and promotion of human rights and child rights derives from the Constitution of India, which provides for affirmative action in favour of children. It also directs the State to ensure that children are not abused and are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner in conditions of freedom and dignity. In 2002, Article 21 A was added through a Constitutional amendment to make elementary education a Fundamental Right for every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years.
To provide focus on issues related to women & children, the erstwhile Department of Women & Child Development under the Human Resource Development Ministry was upgraded as an independent Ministry in 2006.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was constituted in 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, which also provides for setting up sub-national level Commissions and Children’s Courts to be set up in each state of the country. Eleven State Commissions have already been set up and are at different stages of being operational. These statutory bodies are meant to work for protection and promotion of child rights in the country. It underscores the commitment to the principles of universality, inviolability, indivisibility, interdependence and mutually reinforcing character of child rights and ensures that the work is directly informed by the views of children in order to reflect their priorities and perspectives.
Besides the institutional, legislative and administrative framework which is in place to extend and protect human rights, India has a strong presence of non-governmental and voluntary action, through a network of community-based people’s organisations. They, along with the independent media, act as a watchdog for the protection of human and child rights.
The Government is increasingly earmarking large resources for programmes of health, education, employment, sanitation, drinking water, child development and urban renewal with focus on system strengthening, increased inter-sectoral convergence and collaboration for improved outcomes for children. But, in the context of India which is both large and diverse, it is important to understand that while children have equal rights, their needs and entitlements are area-specific, group-specific, culture-specific, setting-specific, and age-specific and demand a variety of interventions. This, coupled with the problems of displaced and migrant children, children in areas of civil unrest, children belonging to marginalized groups, children who have suffered violence, abuse and exploitation, makes the task really challenging to see that interventions for children do not exclude anyone.
India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child’ is a product of extensive consultations with all stakeholders. The Report has been prepared after consultations with and based on inputs received from other key ministries and agencies, following the general guidelines issued by the Committee on CRC. A High Powered Committee, comprising representatives of different government ministries, 18 state governments and representatives of non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and international agencies was constituted in December, 2006, to guide the preparation of the CRC Report and Reports on the two Optional Protocols (OPs). Guidelines were shared with the state governments and Central ministries/departments for their inputs. Five regional consultations were held across the country between July and October, 2007 to engage with stakeholders to make the Report as broad based and representative, as possible.
In this background, this Report combines an analysis of the overall implementation of the CRC in our country, a review of its progress, and identification of continuing challenges that impede the realization of all rights of all children. Significantly, the period under Report has seen introduction of several laws, policies and programmes to implement India’s CRC commitments for the survival, development, protection and participation of children. These include adoption of free and compulsory education for the age group of 6-14 years; universalisation of services for nutrition and development of children in the age group of 0 6 years; launch of a comprehensive scheme for protection of children in difficult circumstances; adoption of legislation to prohibit child marriage; and amendments in several laws to ensure better care and protection of children.
In conclusion, protection and promotion of child rights and all-round care and development of children continue to be the major priorities. The Government at the Centre and in the States are all committed to ensure that all children enjoy their rights to education, protection, growth and development in a secure and nurturing environment. With the help of coordinated implementation of programmes, partnership with community and non-governmental sectors, we are confident of achieving this goal.
D.K. Sikri, Secretary,
Ministry of Women and Child Development
Government of India
4D. Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion 21 75
4E. Freedom of Association and of Peaceful Assembly 22–26 75
4F. Protection of Privacy 27–28 76
4G. Access to Appropriate Information 29–31 76
4H. Right not to be subjected to Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, including Corporal Punishment 32–47 77
4I Challenges 48 80
5. Family Environment and Alternative Care 1–101 80
5A. Parental Guidance 1–9 81
5B. Parental Responsibilities 10–25 82
5C. Separation from Parents 26–35 85
5D. Family Reunification 36–42 87
5E. Recovery of Maintenance for the Child 43–45 88
5F. Children Deprived of a Family Environment 46–48 89
5G. Adoption 49–71 90
5H. Illicit Transfer and Non-Return 72–73 94
5I. Abuse and Neglect, including Physical and Psychological Recovery
and Social Reintegration 74–93 94
5J. Periodic Review of Placement 94–98 97
5K Challenges 99–101 98
6. Basic Health and Welfare 1–198 99
6A. Survival and Development 1–14 100
6B. Children with Disabilities 15–40 105
6C. Health and Health Services 41–161 110
6D. Social Security and Childcare Services and Facilities 162–178 136
6E. Standard of Living 179–198 139
7. Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities 1–121 143
7A. Education, including Vocational Training and Guidance 1–98 143
7B. Aims of Education with reference also to Quality of Education 99–107 166
7C. Rest, Leisure, Recreation and Cultural and Artistic Activities 108–121 168
8. Special Protection Measures 1–253 171
8A. Children in Situations of Emergency 1–12 172
8B. Children in Conflict with the Law 13–72 174
8C. Children in Situations of Exploitation, including Physical
and Psychological Recovery and Social Re-integration 73–219 187
8D. Children Belonging to a Minority or an Indigenous Group 220–234 213
8E. Children Living or Working on the Street 235–253 216
India acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1992, becoming one of the first few countries in the world to do so. India submitted its First Report on the implementation of the CRC in 1997. This was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in January 2000. The Second Periodic Report on CRC was submitted by India in 2001, which was reviewed by UNCRC in February 2004. The Committee recommended India to submit the next report as a combined third and fourth periodic report in July 2008. India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report takes into consideration a period between 2001 and 2008.
The Second Periodic Report of India, while presenting a comprehensive picture of the situation of children in the country and achievements in the earlier period, expressed concern about some critical indicators and gave a solemn commitment to address them. The present India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report on CRC – a product of extensive consultations with all stakeholders – has tried to make a candid assessment of how much of this commitment, has been translated into action. A sincere attempt has been made in these pages to describe the current status of well-being of children in India, efforts made during the period to address the concerns of children and the challenges, which have yet to be overcome.
During the reporting period, the Government has targeted and worked diligently towards inclusive growth, with the ultimate objective of creating an inclusive society. The period is too short to achieve this goal. But tremendous momentum has already been imparted through policy initiatives and programmes initiated and implemented for children. These years have also seen a continued emphasis on transparency and better governance – the bedrock of efficient and outcome-oriented programming.
Assessments during the 10th Plan (2002-07) highlighted the persisting development deficits caused by slower-than-expected reduction in poverty levels. These assessments triggered major policy initiatives and resource commitments for child survival and development. The 11th Plan (2007-12) remains geared to these commitments, with focus on inclusion and empowerment.
During this period, ongoing flagship programmes for employment, education, health, nutrition, rural infrastructure and urban renewal have been consolidated. New flagship programmes for food security and skill development have been introduced or are in the process of being initiated. The Government is seriously engaged in not only restoring the economy after the global meltdown in 2008-09 to a higher growth trajectory, but is also ensuring that the growth process is socially and regionally more inclusive and equitable. For this reason, all the current development initiatives are much better clued to the welfare of women and children, Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities and the differently-abled. The upgradation of the Department of Women and Child Development into an independent Ministry has no doubt helped to bring the children issue into better focus and to manage child-related initiatives in a better manner.
Among the notable achievements in this reporting period have been the perceptible improvement in access to education, expansion of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme to cover over 117.4 million children, revamping of rural public health infrastructure and a rapidly-expanding social protection net through insurance schemes and pensions. Under-developed States and regions have been the special focus of development efforts. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has been universalised in coverage and proved to be an effective social protection measure. It is the largest programme in the world, for rural reconstruction. The National Rural Health Mission has been put in mission mode for implementation and has been taking steps to bring about a reduction in infant and maternal mortality. An important aspect of development programme in this period has been increased transparency and greater public accountability through enabling legislations and independent monitoring mechanisms.
The groundwork done during this reporting period is set to pay dividends in the coming years. The early childhood education and nutrition delivery programme, Integrated Child Development Services, has entered the third phase of expansion. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has positively impacted on the access and retention in schools. The focus has shifted more to quality education, and with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the enabling legislation, in place, this will receive further impetus. Recognising that increased female literacy is a force multiplier for social development programmes, the Government has launched a National Mission for Female Literacy to make every woman literate in the next five years. The proposed National Food Security Act, once enacted, will provide the statutory basis for the framework to assure food security for all. With 40% of the population in the under-18 age group, a National Skill Development Mission has been launched to tap this demographic dividend.
A big boost to developing a protective environment for children during the reporting period has been provided by the setting up of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, guided by an appropriate legislative framework. The work on setting up of State-level Commissions and Children’s Courts is under way. The National Commission has been functional for more than three years and has been addressing issues of working children, sexual abuse, female foeticide, and others. The Integrated Child Protection Scheme has been launched, based on the principles of ‘protection of child rights’ and ‘best interest of the child’. The Scheme will help build a protective environment for all children, who are in difficult circumstances and reduce vulnerabilities of other children, subject to abuse and exploitation.
Consistent and high economic growth over the past few years has enabled increased allocation of funds for social sector investments, particularly targeting the vulnerable groups, including children. Child budgeting has had a head start. Even during the period of global economic downturn, the Government has ensured that investments for children continue to increase, even if it has resulted in an overall increase in deficit financing.
Increased allocations, outcome-oriented implementation and inclusive policies have, no doubt, produced encouraging results during this period, particularly in education and health. It is evident that the experience gained in the implementation of certain National-level programmes would be leveraged now to make a decisive impact in other dimensions of child rights, particularly in reaching out to and improving the situation of children in special and difficult circumstances.
This Report, while acknowledging the achievements, underscores areas, where urgent attention is required. We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to continue working towards realising the rights of all children.
Presentation of the Report
India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report on CRC has been prepared in accordance with the Guidelines adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its Thirty-Ninth (39th) Session on June 3, 2005. The Report is divided into eight thematic chapters, based on grouping of the Articles of the Convention. Each thematic chapter begins with the Government’s response to the Concluding Observations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its Thirty-Fifth (35th) Session. This is followed by a description of the steps taken by the Government towards implementation of Articles of the Convention and the enjoyment of human rights by children in the country. The discussion is grouped under the following sub-headings in each chapter:
Status and Trends;
Recognising that different Articles of the Convention are not stand-alone Articles and are inter-related, cross-references have been given both within and across the chapters. India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report on CRC is in full compliance with the provisions of Article 44 of the Convention.
India: Third and Fourth Combined Report on the CRC was planned for submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2008. Internal discussion among ministries, constant feedback on the report and availability of new data has been a continuing challenge in the finalisatiobn of the Report. In order to incorporate new developments and information, this additional chapter on “Information Update” has been added to the report.
General Measures of Implementation
Articles 4, 42 and 44 (para 6)
Mid Term Evaluation of the 11th Five Year Plan
The 11th Five Year Plan recognised rights of children regardless of vulnerabilities of their class, caste, religion, ethnicity, regional and gender status. The Plan envisioned inclusive growth and advocated for ending the exclusion and discrimination faced by children. The first half of the 11th Five Year Plan saw the introduction of some new schemes to tackle issues of declining sex ratio, trafficking and child protection. Half way through the Plan, the steps taken to attain inclusive growth as per the goals set out in the Plan are clearly visible; and efforts are being made to accelerate this progress. It is to be recognised that the process of systematic transformation has started and success lies in proper implementation and good governance.1
The mid-term evaluation of the 11th Five Year Plan provides an assessment of existing programmes and schemes along with recommendations to fulfil the 11th Plan vision of child rights. Some of the key programmes for which the Plan has made recommendations include: the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme called Dhanalakshmi, Ujjawala to address the issue of trafficking, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) and the Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme (RGNCS) (See Section 1.5.1 for details.). According to the mid-term evaluation, concerted, focused and outcome-oriented efforts are required to address malnutrition for development of children under two years of age. There is need to clearly define the specific purpose of ICDS and parameters against which its performance should be measured. There is need to focus on impacts and outcomes rather than outputs. For the Dhanalakshmi Scheme, there is need to review and revise the Scheme to make it worthwhile and less cumbersome, and also increase the geographical coverage to make it viable and of interest to States. Ujjawala needs much greater publicity, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) need to be encouraged and sensitised to take up the Scheme and procedures need to be streamlined to enable safe and quick repatriation of the victims. ICPS is already being implemented through States/Union Territories (UTs). The RGNCS should be considered for converting into a centrally sponsored scheme with revision in user charges and cost norms to bring them at par with those of ICDS. Furthermore, the mid-term evaluation recommends that efforts are needed to generate flexibility of norms to address critical needs at community level by creating a flexi pool of resources. Schemes need to be funded with realistic cost norms. Dissemination of information about existing schemes also needs to be strengthened.2 Government is making effort in this direction.
A system for name-based tracking of pregnant women and children for ante-natal care and immunisation is being put in place to obtain accurate data from across the country. The tracking system will capture the contact numbers of beneficiaries and health providers. This will help national monitoring of the health status of pregnant women and infants/children across the country. A help desk/call-centre is also being established to randomly cross-check the health services delivered to these mothers and children.3
For the first time, an Annual Health Survey has been launched to provide data on key health indicators like the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Crude Birth and Death Rates, Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), etc. at the District level and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) at the Regional level. The survey is being conducted in collaboration with the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI) and has been launched in the 284 Districts of nine States, namely, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Rajasthan and Assam. A proposal for estimation of anaemia, malnutrition, hypertension, diabetes, and testing of iodine in salt used by households has also been approved.4
The results of the District Level Household Survey (DLHS-3) 2007-08 were released in 2010. DLHS-3 is a nation-wide survey that covers 601 Districts from 34 States and UTs of India. The earlier surveys were conducted in 2002-04 (DLHS-2) and in 1998-99 (DLHS-1). The DLHS-3 provides data on maternal and child health, family planning and other reproductive health indicators. The broad objective of DLHS-3 is to provide reproductive child health outcome indicators at the District level in order to monitor and provide corrective measures to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which was launched in 2005-06 to provide effective health care to the rural population in the country with special focus on States with poor health outcomes and inadequate public health infrastructure and manpower (See Section 1.5.2 for details). The results of the Survey are being used by the States and Districts in monitoring and assessing existing programmes, and initiating steps to further strengthen NRHM’s programmatic interventions.5
According to DLHS-3, at the national level, the proportion of children receiving full vaccination is 54%. The full vaccination includes one dose of BCG, three injections against DPT, three doses of Polio and one vaccine against measles. About 5% of the children at the national level had not received a single vaccine. The coverage of immunisation is higher in urban areas compared to that in the rural areas (63% and 50% respectively).6 Considerable State-level variations with regard to immunisation coverage persist (See figure 1). States like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have about 80% coverage. In States like Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam more than 10% of the children never received a single vaccine. It is as high as 21% and 15% in Tripura and Meghalaya. In Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, children who did not receive any vaccine is less than 1%.7