Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: A flagship programme of the Government of India, it is being implemented in partnership with States, to address the educational needs of children in the age group of 6-14 years. SSA aims to bridge all social, gender and regional gaps, with active participation of the community in the management of schools. A 2% education cess is being levied since 2004 on all taxes and has been earmarked to fund this programme.38 In the 11th Five Year Plan, SSA will shift its focus from access and infrastructure at the primary level to enhancing retention and improving quality of learning. (See Section 7A.5.2 for details.)
National Programme for Education of Girls at the Elementary Level (NPEGEL): The Programme provides additional support for development of a ‘model girl-child-friendly school’ in every cluster, with more intense community mobilisation and supervision of girls’ enrolment in schools. The programme also provides remedial teaching to girls, apart from holding bridge courses and providing additional incentives, such as uniforms to girls. (See Section 7A.5.2 for details.)
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV): The Scheme was launched in July 2004 for setting up residential schools at upper primary level for girls belonging predominantly to SCs, STs, Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and minority communities. The KGBV Scheme was operated as an independent scheme for the first two years, but was merged with SSA in 2007. (See Section 7A.5.2 for details.)
Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The Scheme covers approximately 117.4 million children in 0.95 million primary schools, run or aided by the Government (including local bodies), and centres run under the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) Scheme. The Scheme was extended, with effect from October 1, 2007, to children in the upper primary stage of education (Classes VI-VIII) in 3,479 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs). Approximately 17 million additional children in classes VI-VIII in EBBs are expected to be included.39 (See Section 7A.5.2.2 for details.)
National Rural Health Mission: A flagship programme of the MoH&FW, the NRHM (2005-12) seeks to provide effective healthcare services to rural population throughout the country, with special focus on 18 States, which have weak public health indicators and/or weak infrastructure. It seeks to improve access of rural people, especially poor women and children, to equitable, affordable, accountable and effective primary healthcare. It aims to ensure transparency in the health delivery system and, by extending its outreach to the lowest levels through integration with the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), reaching out to the most marginalised children. It also aims at effective integration of various components of health, that is, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, and safe drinking water. The NRHM has successfully provided a platform for community health action at all levels. (See Section 6C.3.1 for details.)
Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM): Under the Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP), JNNURM was launched in December 2005, and is an important initiative of the Government of India for planned development of key cities of the country. The Mission aims at creating economically productive, efficient, equitable and responsive cities in an integrated framework, with focus on economic and social infrastructure, basic services to the urban poor, urban sector reforms and strengthening of municipal Governments and their functioning. (See Section 6C.4.2 for details.)
Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP): The UIP has contributed to the reduction of cases of major vaccine-preventable diseases, such as decline of diphtheria and pertussis by 83% each, measles by 59%, neonatal tetanus by 94% and poliomyelitis by 97% between 1988 and 2006. Hepatitis-B vaccination programme, started in 2002 in 33 Districts and 15 cities as a pilot initiative, will be expanded to other Districts in the 11th Five Year Plan. Vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis was also started under this programme in 2006.40 (See Section 6C.3.1.4 for details.)
Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI): This strategy encompasses a range of interventions to prevent and manage five major childhood problems: acute respiratory infection (ARI), diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition, as well as major causes of neonatal mortality, prematurity and sepsis. (See Section 6C.3.1.5 for details.)
1.5.3 Progress on Millennium Development Goals
India’s position with reference to MDGs reveals that to achieve Goal 1 of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, India will have to reduce the proportion of people below poverty line from nearly 37.5% in 1990 to about 18.75% by 2015. The poverty headcount ratio was 27.5% in 2004-05 (28.3% rural population and 25.7% urban population). The rural-urban gap in poverty has also narrowed.
For achieving Goal 2, i.e. universal primary education, India has to ensure the primary school enrolment rate of 100% and wipe out the dropouts by 2015. The drop-out rate for primary education during 2004-05 was 29%. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in primary education has crossed the 100% mark for both boys and girls. However, the Net Enrolment Ratio (NER), taking into consideration the official school age of 6-11 years enrolled in grades I-V, was about 82% in 2004-05.
To ensure gender parity in education as per Goal 3, the female-male proportion in respect of primary education has increased to 88:100 in 2004-05, as compared to 71:100 in 1990-91. During the same period, the proportion has increased to 71:100 from 50:100, in case of secondary education.41
With respect to Goal 4, aimed at reducing Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR), the data shows that it has decreased from 125 deaths per thousand live births in 1988-92 to 99.1 during the period 1999-2003. The overall U5MR for the period 1999-2003 is by and large consistent with the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) results. The IMR of 80 per thousand live births in 1990 has come down to 58 per thousand in 2005. However, the Central Indian belt of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan continues to have more than 60 per thousand infant mortality.
The progress on Goal 5 of reducing MMR shows a decline from 424 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1992-93 to 256 in 2004-05.
As far as Goal 6 is concerned, though India has a low prevalence of HIV among pregnant women as compared to other developing countries, the prevalence rate has decreased from 0.74 per thousand pregnant women in 2002 to 0.68 in 2006.42
With reference to Goal 7, which aims at ensuring environmental sustainability, India is on track. The number of households with access to improved drinking water source in rural areas has increased from 55.5% in 1991 to 84.5% in 2005-06; similarly for urban areas, the number has increased from 81.4% to 95% for the same period. In case of households using toilet facilities in the rural areas, the figure stands at 26% in 2005-06, as compared to 9.5% in 1991. The percentage of households using toilets in urban areas stands at 83.2% in 2005-06, as compared to 47% in 1991.43
The Government of India recognises that addressing the right and needs of the child requires programming across different sectors and integrating their impact on the child in a synergistic way. The MWCD has a nodal role in coordinating efforts for the translation of the Constitution and other national laws and policies, the MDGs, the NPAC, 2005, and the International and regional treaty obligations into effective programmes for children, encompassing the entire period of childhood and removing disparities in access due to any reason.
The convergence and coordinated delivery of inter-related services is not a new concept. It has already been attempted in the past with varying degrees of success at various levels of planning and implementation. ICDS, which is more than 35 years old is primarily based on the philosophy of convergence as ICDS functionaries are tuned to seeking and obtaining services from other Government departments working in the field. A rights-based approach to survival, development and protection calls for lateral linkages with different sectors, viz. education, health, rural development, labour, urban affairs, legal affairs, home affairs, etc. of Central and State Governments, including local self-Government and PRIs.
The MWCD has played a major coordination role in the context of CRC. For improving coordination in the implementation of child rights, a National Coordination Group (NCG) was constituted on April 8, 2005, under the Chairpersonship of the Secretary, MWCD. Subsequently, the NPAC, 2005, was prepared in consultation with the concerned Ministries and Departments and State Governments in 2005, wherein it was provided that monitoring of the Plan will be done by the NCG. Accordingly, the Group was reconstituted in 2007 to expand its terms of reference. Its first meeting after reconstitution was held in 2008, in which the provisions of NPAC, 2005, and the proposed actions to be taken collectively by all the Ministries and Departments, including the State Governments, for achieving the targets were discussed.
Monitoring is being undertaken by several Ministries and Departments dealing with children’s issues. The reconstituted NCG has met to discuss issues pertaining to the implementation of child rights and the monitoring of NPAC, 2005. Besides an initial discussion on the issue of child health, a meeting was also held to discuss monitoring indicators for all rights.
1.8 Awareness Generation
Given the multitude of Government agencies at different levels and NGOs engaged in awareness generation on social issues, including children’s issues, there is progress on various fronts. There is much greater visibility and awareness on children’s rights, resulting in increased reporting of cases. From the communication perspective, socio-economic, cultural and linguistic disparities pose considerable challenge in the way of creating awareness on child rights.
The MWCD is engaged in generating public awareness on issues concerning women and children, as well as policies, programmes and developmental activities formulated to address those issues. Publicity campaigns have specifically focused on the issues of girl child, early childhood development, education, nutrition, social evils such as child marriage, trafficking, gender inequality, sexual abuse, exploitation and violence against women and children, and have effectively utilised the print, electronic and traditional media.44 Religious and spiritual leaders have been motivated to spread awareness on the issue of sex selection and early marriage, and its implications. (See Section 3B.5.5 for details.) As a component of its larger agenda of promoting child rights, the MWCD has institutionalised several awards recognising the achievements of children, and work of institutions and individuals on child rights’ issues. These include the National Award for Child Welfare, conferred on individuals and institutions for outstanding performance in the field of child welfare; the Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award, to honour an individual, who makes an outstanding contribution towards service to children; the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement, to present recognition to children with exceptional abilities and who have achieved outstanding status in various fields, including academics, arts, culture and sports; and the National Bravery Awards.
Public education campaigns, advocacy, awareness, communication and capacity building have been proposed in the 11th Five Year Plan.45 The MWCD has been coordinating media campaigns on the issues related to the girl child, nutrition and domestic violence. The Ministry has conducted campaigns to eradicate customs and traditions that impede the implementation of the Convention, such as campaigns on ill-effects of early marriage, female foeticide, etc. The MWCD, as part of its advocacy efforts, published its 2008 calendar, highlighting the importance of early childhood care and nutrition issues.
A number of public information campaigns of other Ministries also focus on issues critical for children and women. These multimedia campaigns are supported by Government institutions and infrastructure, and seek to highlight the regional/local nuances in the messages. For instance, multimedia campaigns by the NRHM have projected the immunisation week, ‘Save the Girl Child’ message, and the profile, roles and responsibilities of an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA). The NRHM health messages are printed on the official stationery and prescription slips used at Primary Health Centres/Community Health Centres (PHCs/CHCs) and projected in health melas at the District level through outdoor exhibition tools. Calendars and wall writings have also been used to convey information on NRHM themes, including the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and immunisation. A north-east specific campaign has also been outlined for electronic and audio-visual media.46 A number of campaigns have also been undertaken to promote early childhood education, such as mabeti fairs, Meena campaigns, prabhat pheris, meetings with religious leaders and community-based meetings. Public information campaigns also focus on social evils, such as caste discrimination, female foeticide and early marriage. (See Sections 3B.1.5, 3B.5.5, 6C.7 and 7A.6 for details.) The ICPS also focuses on awareness generation and advocacy regarding children’s issues through the implementation agencies, viz. State Governments, CARA and CIF.
Dissemination of the CRC and COs of the UN Committee: The COs and recommendations of the UN Committee, following the consideration of India First and Second Periodic Report on the CRC, were distributed among the relevant Central Ministries, the State Governments and UT Administrations, and also put up on the MWCD website to ensure wider public access. These COs are often referred to when policies, plans and legislations pertaining to children are being drafted by the Government. The NGOs and their networks, UNICEF and other international organisations have been using them as tools for advocacy and collective action within a rights-based approach on the issues concerning children.
Parliamentary Forum on Children: The Forum, constituted on March 2, 2006, aims to enhance awareness and attention of Parliamentarians towards the critical issues affecting children’s well-being; and to provide a platform for Parliamentarians to exchange ideas, views, experiences, expertise and practices with regard to children. It also provides an interface with civil society for highlighting children’s issues and thereby helps to fosters effective strategic partnerships. Furthermore, it enables the Parliamentarians to interact in an institutionalised manner; and to undertake any other tasks, projects, assignments, etc., as the Forum may deem fit.
The Speaker, Lok Sabha, is the ex-officio President. The Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha; Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha; the Ministers of Women and Child Development, Human Resource Development, Labour and Employment, and Health and Family Welfare; and the Chairmen of the Committees on Human Resource Development and Labour are the ex-officio Vice-Presidents of the Forum. The Forum consists of not more than 31 members. It has been briefed on issues such as child marriage, girl child, malnutrition, education and child labour. The Forum has also held sessions, in which the members have interacted with children involved in creating awareness on child rights, and girl role models from deprived backgrounds.
The Forum plays an important role in spreading awareness among the Parliamentarians, which has also resulted in action being taken based on such interactions. In the State of Bihar, legislators have placed their experiences and recommendations in the State Assembly, based on their visits made through this Forum on issues such as child health, child marriage, declining child sex ratio, etc. The legislators are also working on the implementation of these recommendations in the State.
NCPCR: Since its inception, the NCPCR has initiated a number of measures to promote awareness on child rights among Parliamentarians, Government officials, professionals, NGOs and the society. Awareness on children’s issues and their rights is also being promoted through the Commission’s website and its newsletter. There are plans to promote awareness among children about their rights in hostels, orphanages, juvenile observation homes, children’s homes and shelter homes.
The NCPCR is creating public awareness about child rights through visits to States and consultations with officials, NGOs, trade unions, children and others.47 In view of the reported serious violations of rights of children in the form of corporal punishment in schools, the NCPCR has informed the chief secretaries of all States to issue instructions to their education departments to ensure that violence is not perpetrated on children.48
1.9 Data Collection
There has been a significant progress since 2004 in terms of information on children. Major nation-wide surveys have been undertaken during this period, providing disaggregated data on children and introducing child-specific indicators. While many of them were routine and repeat surveys, some were new and innovative. Improved access to information technology in the country resulted in improved dissemination and use of data. The results of these surveys and studies are being disseminated proactively, and are proving useful in policy making and programme implementation. The qualitative information is being used for advocacy and policy and programme planning. However, it may be noted that while there are statistics available for younger children, the data for 15-18-year olds is limited. Major surveys that have strengthened the database on children since 2004 are described below and these have been used in drafting this report.
National Census: The Census of India, 2001 (released in 2004), with disaggregated data on the various socio-economic characteristics by religion, helped to generate information on children belonging to various religious minorities and their socioeconomic issues. This data-set, together with data-set on children belonging to SCs/STs, has improved the understanding of issues of socio-economic development and exclusion. The planning for the next Census in 2011 has begun and the first Data Users’ Conference in April 2008 discussed various issues, including framing of questions specifically pertaining to children.
Sample Registration System (SRS): This survey provides disaggregated data on the birth rate, death rate, fertility rate, IMR, neonatal rate and CMR at the State level, and has begun providing sub-State level data as well, since 2005. The recent Cause of Death Report, based on SRS, provides comprehensive data for the first time on the causes of death of children in various age groups, disaggregated by sex and rural-urban residence.
District Level Household Survey (DLHS): The second in a series of comprehensive surveys, DLHS, 2002-04, measured the progress of Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programmes in all the 593 Districts of the country. For the first time, data on the levels of anaemia among children and underweight children was collected in 548 Districts. The third round of DLHS was undertaken during 2007-08 and the key results for most of the States and Districts have been released.
National Family Health Survey: The results of the third round of NFHS, undertaken in 2005-06, released in August 2007, provide the most recent disaggregated data on fertility, infant and child mortality, maternal and child health, reproductive health, family planning, nutrition, anaemia, utilisation and quality of health and family planning services at the national and State levels. For the first time, it provides information on child protection issues, viz. orphans and vulnerable children, child work and birth registration. The key data sets of the NFHS, such as child nutrition, have caught the attention of the policymakers and programme implementers and are proving to be useful in framing new policy and programmes.
National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau: The Bureau, operating from the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, is involved in periodic nutritional surveys to assess the nutritional status of children.
National Annual Educational Statistics: The statistics brought out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) provide data collected from one million institutions, covering all the levels of education, from pre-primary to higher education, through mailed questionnaires, in collaboration with the State Education Departments. On the basis of data collected from the States, the Statistics Division brings out an annual publication.
Out-of-School Survey, 2005: The MHRD, in collaboration with Educational Consultants, India, conducted an all-India survey to estimate the number of children in the 6-13 age group, who had never attended a school or had dropped out of school (including Government, private or alternate system). The survey also studied their composition by gender, social status and residence (rural-urban).
District Information System for Education (DISE): This comprehensive, internet-enabled system enables collection and compilation of District and sub-District-level school data on a yearly basis. It contains information on the number of schools, grade-wise and level-wise enrolment of children, teachers by school category and management type, examination results, condition of classroom and many other important indicators. Progressive efforts are being undertaken to improve the coverage and quality of the data collected.
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-Rural 2008: The ASER, released by Pratham, an NGO, provides data for all Districts of the country on children’s ability in reading, writing, maths and comprehension; school infrastructure; out-of-school children; the progress of MDMS, and the educational profile of mothers. This report is the fourth in a series of surveys that are expected to continue till 2010. The information from ASER-Rural 2008 has proved useful in drafting this report.
Study on Child Abuse-India, 2007: The MWCD conducted a study to assess the magnitude of various forms of child abuse, viz. physical abuse, sexual and emotional abuse, and girl child’s neglect, among five different evidence groups, namely children in family environment, in school, at work, on streets and in institutions. The Study covered 13 States49 of the country with a sample size of 12,447 children, 2,324 young adults and 2,449 stakeholders. This study is the largest of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world. It has been widely disseminated by the Government, NGOs and the media, and has generated serious discourse on an important and socially-sensitive issue.
National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO): The NSSO conducts nation-wide sample surveys on various socio-economic issues, such as poverty, employment, migration and health and education, during a specific survey period, usually of one-year duration. The data generated through the NSSO helps immensely in understanding children’s issues in a comprehensive way. It helps in the formulation of relevant policies, legislations and programmes, in view of the overall socio-economic contexts in the country.
Annual Surveillance of HIV: The Surveillance for HIV infection comprises four broad areas: HIV Sentinel Surveillance (HSS), AIDS Case Surveillance, Behavioural Surveillance and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Surveillance. HIV surveillance closely monitors and tracks the level, spread and trends of the epidemic, as well as the risk behaviours that pre-dispose the growth of epidemics. Inputs from the Sentinel Surveillance System of India, routine AIDS case reporting, and periodic Behavioural Surveillance Surveys (BSS) give direction to the Government programmes by highlighting the impact of the interventions, and areas that need focus. The HIV Sentinel Surveillance System of India has evolved over time, covering most of the Districts of the country, as well as all the high-risk population groups. Based on the HSS data, all the Districts in the country are categorised into four for giving priority to the programme. Estimation of HIV prevalence and the number of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) is done annually, depicting the scenario of HIV epidemic at the national as well as sub-national levels. BSS throws light on the knowledge, awareness and behaviours related to HIV/AIDS among the general population, youth, as well as different High-Risk Groups (HRG). It also provides deeper understanding on the impact of interventions under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP).
Crime in India: Published annually by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Crime in India provides data on the crime against children, such as murder, infanticide, rape, kidnapping, foeticide, abetment of suicide, buying/selling of minor girls, etc. The NCRB also maintains Talash Information System at the national level, which is a database containing information regarding missing persons under the broad categories50. It also provides data on the children in conflict with law. As data on missing children was not available in the past, efforts are being made to make available gender-disaggregated data on missing children for the 0-2 and 13-18 age groups.
Child Tracking System: In order to track missing children, the NHRC has made recommendations for setting up a web-based and other intra and inter-State networks for tracing missing children, so that the police, in any one particular State/ District of the country, can have access to the data of missing children in other parts of the country. In response to these, many States, such as West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, etc., have set up such missing-child tracing systems. The system, which is child-friendly, managed by the police and the Social Welfare/Women and Child Department, has links to NGOs with user-friendly search tools.
Future Directions: Recognising the inability of the current system to fulfil all the data gaps, the 15th Conference on Central and State Statistical Organisation, organised by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in February 2008, recommended the establishment of a forum on child statistics, comprising various stakeholders, international agencies and NGOs. The scope, content, quality, consistency and reporting of data on children, keeping in mind the NPAC, 2005, could be improved upon by such coordination and collaboration. The CSO could sponsor studies on issues concerning child statistics. The proposed forum could also explore the possibility of compiling a child development index. In addition, a child-tracking system, including a web-enabled Child Protection Data Management Software and website for Missing Children, will be set up under ICPS to help in the follow-up and tracking of children in institutional and non-institutional care.
1.10 Capacity Building
The Government and its agencies at the Central, State and District levels undertake systematic education and training on the provisions of the CRC for all professional groups working for, and with children. Several NGOs also conduct orientation and training of Government functionaries at different levels. Given the magnitude of the country and the multiplicity of the agencies, a mapping of these interventions is extremely difficult in the absence of a unified system of tracking capacity development initiatives. As such, given the capacity-building initiatives of various departments and agencies, the scope and spread of interventions is likely to be much wider than what is reported here.
Training of Government Functionaries: Various institutions and academies for police, judiciary and public administration at the Central and State levels, responsible for developing capacities of Government functionaries, have continued with their efforts during the reporting period.51
(i) NIPCCD: The Institute was established as a nodal centre for training, capacity building, as well as research and documentation in the overall domain of child development, welfare and protection. The scope of regular training was expanded to emphasise early childhood care and development, adolescent development and health, juvenile justice system and trafficking among women and children. From 2006 onwards, an Advanced Diploma Course on Child Guidance and Counselling has been initiated. In order to promote and facilitate effective implementation of the ICPS and all other child protection policies and programmes at regional levels, the regional centres of NIPCCD shall function as regional resource centres, and the Scheme will support the setting up of a Child Protection Section within all the four regional centres of NIPCCD. A one-month Certificate Course on Child Rights and Child Protection was initiated in 2008-09. (See Annexure 1.3 for details on training programmes organised by NIPCCD during 2004-05 to 2007-08).
(ii) National Institute of Social Defence (NISD): The Institute, set-up under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJ&E), undertakes training, research and documentation in the areas of child protection and juvenile justice through the National Initiative for Child Protection, a joint programme started in collaboration with CIF. Members of JJBs and CWCs, police, social welfare officers and probation officers, institutional staff and NGOs working in the field of juvenile justice are trained at regional and State levels. Training manuals are developed and a cadre of senior-level master trainers identified for building capacities on juvenile justice. A one-month Certificate Course on Child Protection for personnel working in the juvenile justice sector, law under-graduates and in judicial academies has also been initiated. (See Annexure 8B1.6 for details of training programmes under NISD).
(iii) The National Judicial Academy (NJA), Bhopal: Since 2004, the NJA has been engaged in building professional skills of magistrates, judges, and members of JJBs and CWCs from all over the country through innovative, interactive juvenile justice training programmes. During the 11th Five Year Plan period, the training programmes would be decentralised to the 19 State Judicial Academies. (See Annexure 8B1.6 for details on capacity building under NJA).
(iv) The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE): Since 1995, the Council aims to achieve planned and coordinated development of teacher education, and to regulate and maintain norms and standards in the teacher education system. So far, norms and standards of 12 courses have been prescribed by the Council.
(v) Police Academies: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad; and the North-Eastern Police Academy, Shillong, are the centres of excellence under the MHA that provide both basic and in-service courses for the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers at various levels. Most of the Central/State Police Forces have set up their own training institutions for imparting induction and in-service training to their personnel. The training curricula and schedules are made to suit the role of respective forces.
(vi) Other training institutions such as the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), universities offering courses in child development and child rights, public administration institutions, National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and judicial academies such as National Law School, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law, etc. are also being used for enhancing capacity development efforts.
Orientation of Other Key Stakeholders: A Parliamentary Forum on Children was constituted on March 2, 2006, to enhance awareness and engage the Members of Parliament (MPs) on critical issues affecting the children’s well-being. (See Section 1.8 for details.)
Training Organised by NGOs: Several NGOs have also been imparting training to law enforcement officials and social work professionals on issues and ways to deal with matters related to child rights and their violations.
Institutionalising Child Rights and Human Rights Education: A number of Indian universities and institutes offer certificate, diploma and degree courses on human and child rights. (See Annexure 1.4 for details of institutions offering courses on child rights and human rights.)
Human rights in school curricula is recognised as a subject of academic study and programmes have been implemented by several States throughout the country. (See Section 7B for details.) The National Curriculum Framework, 2005, encompasses respect for human rights, justice, tolerance, cooperation, social responsibility, and respect for cultural diversity, in addition to a firm commitment to democracy and non-violent conflict resolution. The Framework emphasises that human rights are central to the concept of peace.
The NHRC has an internship programme for students from India and abroad, who are pursuing graduate and post-graduate studies in Law, Political Science, Sociology, Criminology and other relevant disciplines at the Commission’s headquarters, as well as at the regional centres. It is an annual feature and students usually intern for a month during their summer and winter vacations.
As described above, there are several agencies working at the Central, State and District levels, building capacities of functionaries, who directly or indirectly deal with children. However, much more needs to be done in this area, and efforts are being made under the ICPS to enhance capacities of all child protection functionaries, including administrators and service providers, at the central, regional, State and District levels. The Scheme also provides for sensitisation and training of members of allied systems, including, local bodies, police, judiciary and other concerned departments of the State.
The Government recognises the important role of UN agencies, NGOs, private sector and local communities as partners in implementing the provisions of the Convention. UN agencies and NGO representatives are invited from time to time for consultations at the national, regional and State levels to work on policies, plans and legislations. These agencies have made significant contributions in drafting several legislations, such as National Plan of Action for Children, 2005, the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, the JJ (Amendment) Act, 2006, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, to name a few. The UN agencies and NGOs were also actively involved in the regional and State consultations for the preparation of India: Third and Fourth Combined Periodic Report on the CRC.
The Study on Child Abuse: India 2007, conducted by the MWCD, was supported by UNICEF and Save the Children. The review of data, the analysis of findings and the final report, along with the recommendations, were conducted through a Core Committee, which had representation from UN agencies and NGOs. Similarly, the study on Trafficking in Women and Children in India by the NHRC was conducted in consultation with the ISS, UNIFEM and USAID. The MWCD also collaborates with UN agencies in preparing Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for all aspects of child rights.
Many NGOs are implementing various child rights programmes through financial and technical support from the Government. The Government has involved NGOs in programmes for street and working children, and management of institutions for children. The JJ Act, 2000, specifically promotes partnerships with NGOs in management of homes for rehabilitation of children. Many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been partnering with the Government to run crèches. With flexibility in their operations, and professional and volunteer support from various disciplines, NGOs have been successful in responding to children’s needs through education and vocational training, and helped with family tracing and re-unification.52 The Central Government has encouraged such partnerships, which have shown considerable success, particularly in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi. The CIF initiates and monitors performance of Childline services in cities and Districts and conducts training, research and advocacy at the national level on child protection issues. The NGO contribution to early childhood education, non-formal education and implementation of SSA has been significant. The ICPS also emphasises enhanced role and participation of NGOs as partners in protection and development of children.
There has also been cooperation between the Government and the private sector, especially in the field of health and education. Public-private collaboration has expanded beyond creating awareness and demand for developmental programmes, to provision of services at the community level. There has been collaboration with the private sector in implementation of national health programmes and running of public hospitals. Several States, such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, with weak public services’ networks, have adopted social franchising and social marketing in their health services, especially in the area of RCH. (See Section 6C.6 for details.) The involvement of private sector in the provision of formal schooling is increasing, and there has been a steady increase in private unaided primary schools. Several private foundations and initiatives focusing on the quality of education have emerged in the recent years. (See Section 7A.8 for details.)
Partnership with local communities is essential for securing universal access of quality education to children. This is encouraged through Village Education Committees (VECs) and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs). The PRIs play a dominant role in evolving a system of democratic decentralisation and devolution of people, with a view to ensuring rapid socio-economic progress and speedier and inexpensive justice. The 11th Five Year Plan, which has identified ‘inclusive growth’ as the overarching objective, seeks to substantially empower and use PRIs as the primary means of delivery of essential services that are critical to inclusive growth. Some of the issues with regard to child rights taken up by PRIs include:53
(i) Examination of status of girl child and stopping early child marriages and registration of marriages.
(ii) Monitoring of attendance of children going to school, taking up issues of corporal punishment, caste discrimination, MDMS and other governance issues that can come in the way of child’s attendance in schools.
(iii) Maintenance of a register for children in the 0-18 age group by several panchayats, and examination of their status in a periodic manner.
(iv) Interaction with the staff of the line departments of sectors such as education, health, revenue, development, welfare, etc. to ensure protection of children’s rights.
(v) Establishment of linkages with households, often mediating through/and over-riding social and cultural hierarchies for taking up the agenda of protection of children’s rights.
There has been an increase in the proportion of budget allocated to the realisation of child rights during the reporting period. The enhanced budget is reflected in the various schemes and programmes for children, information about which is disseminated through print and electronic media and also through the website of ministries. The magnitude of Child Budget in the Union Budget, that is the aggregate outlay for child-specific schemes as a proportion of total budget outlay by the Union Government, has increased from 2.15% in 2001-02 to 5.35% in 2008-09.54 Keeping in mind the different needs of children in the country, all programmes/schemes included in the Child Budget are categorised into four sectors: child development, child health, child education, and child protection. The percentage allocation for different sectors in the Child Budget as a proportion of total Union Budget outlays is depicted in figure 1.1.
As children constitute around 41% of the country’s population and many of the outcome indicators for children point to the disadvantaged status of children, the proportion of Child Budget in the Union Budget seems inadequate. Moreover, analysis of the budgets of States (such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh) indicates that many of the State Governments have become heavily dependent on the Union Budget outlays for the centrally sponsored schemes for children (such as the SSA, ICDS and RCH) for financing targeted interventions for children in their States. In order to address both the issues of allocation and effective utilisation of funds earmarked for children, the MWCD convened a national consultation in February 2008. The consultation developed recommendations for improving planning and budgetary processes within an outcome-based framework.55