The National Policy for Children
shall provide adequate services towards children, both before and after birth and during the growing stages for their full physical, mental and social development. The measures suggested include amongst others, a comprehensive health programme, supplementary nutrition for mothers and children, free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years, promotion of physical education and recreational activities, special consideration for children of weaker sections like SCs and STs, prevention of exploitation of children, etc. The Government of India adopted the National Charter for Children which has been prepared after obtaining the views/comments and suggestions of the State Governments/UT Administrations, concerned Ministries and Departments and experts in the field. The National Charter is a statement of intent embodying the Government’s agenda for Children.
The document emphasizes Government of India’s commitment to children’s rights to survival, health and nutrition, standard of living, play and leisure, early childhood care, education, protection of the girl child, empowering adolescents, equality, life and liberty, name and nationality, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, the right to a family and the right to be protected from economic exploitation and all forms of abuse. The document also provides for protection of children in difficult circumstances, children with disabilities, children from marginalised and disadvantaged communities, and child victims.
The document while stipulating the duties of the State and the Community towards children also emphasizes the duties of children towards family, society and the Nation. The National Charter for Children was notified in the Gazette of India on 9th Feb., 2004. India acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 11th Dec., 1992 to reiterate its commitment to the cause of children. The objective of the Convention is to give every child the right to survival and development in a healthy and congenial environment. India is also party to the Millennium Development Goals and the SAARC Conventions on Child Welfare and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children in SAARC Region.
National Plan of Action for Children 2005
M/o of Women and Child Development has prepared a National Plan of Action for Children 2005 after harmonizing the goals for children set in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children held in 2002 and the monitorable targets set in the Tenth Five Year Plan, and goals for children in related Ministries/Departments. The Action Plan has been prepared in consultation with concerned Ministries and Departments, States/Union territory Governments, Non Governmental Organizations and experts. The National Plan of Action includes goals, objectives, strategies and activities for improving nutritional status of children, reducing IMR and MMR, increasing enrolment ratio and reducing drop out rates, universalization of primary education, increasing coverage for immunization etc. The Prime Minister’s Office is quarterly monitoring the National Plan of Action for Children 2005 on the basis of eight parameters. These are as under:
- Reduce IMR to below 30 per 1000 live births by 2010
- Reduce Child Mortality Rate to below 31 per 1000 live births by 2010.
- To reduce Maternal Mortality Rate to below 100 per 100,000 live births by 2010.
- Universal equitable access and use of safe drinking water and improved access to sanitary means of excreta disposal by 2010.
- 100% rural population to have access to basic sanitation by 2012.
- To eliminate child marriages by 2010
- To eliminate disability due to poliomyelitis by 2007
- To reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 20 percent by 2007 and by 50 percent by 2010, by ensuring that 80 per cent of pregnant women have access to ante natal care, and 95 per cent of men and women aged 15-24 have access to care, counseling and other HIV and prevention services.
Several Ministries and Departments of the Government of India are implementing various schemes and programmes for the benefit of children. Some of the Schemes and Programmes being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development are as under:
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
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