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SOCIAL ISSUE : CHILD ISSUE
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013 02:31

 

CHILD ISSUE

 

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF CHILD RIGHTS

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005). The Commission's Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.

The Commission visualises a rights-based perspective flowing into National Policies and Programmes, along with nuanced responses at the State, District and Block levels, taking care of specificities and strengths of each region. In order to touch every child, it seeks a deeper penetration to communities and households and expects that the ground experiences inform the support the field receives from all the authorities at the higher level. Thus the Commission sees an indispensable role for the State, sound institution-building processes, respect for decentralization at the level of the local bodies at the community level and larger societal concern for children and their well-being.

Child Marriage Causes and its Prevention

Child Marriage Causes

1. The caste system doesn’t allow two adult people to marry outside their castes. But in the modern times, young boys and girls started marrying crossing the barriers of castes and customs as a result of which the people of old-mindset were threatened. As a solution to it and save the caste system, marriage at young age came into existence.

2. Military alliances: Child marriages took place to strengthen military alliances during the ancient and medieval era. But unfortunately this custom still exists among some feudal and royal families.

3. Political turmoil: Political turmoil during medieval time also encouraged child marriages. People wanted to safeguard the honour of their daughters. So they married them young.

CHILD MARRIAGE: ITS PREVENTION

The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929: It is also known as Sarda act. It was applied to all the citizens of India except Jammu and Kashmir. This Act defined a male child as 21 years or younger, a female child as 18 years or younger, and a minor as a child of either sex 18 years or younger.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: The Government of India enacted the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006, which will have under its ambit all the States and Union Territories of India except the State of Jammu & Kashmir. The Act also applies to all citizens of India without and beyond India.

Under the PCMA 2006, every child marriage is voidable at the option of the contracting party who was a child at the time of the marriage, within two years of the child attaining majority. PCMA 2006 replaced Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) of 1929. PCMA was notified in the Gazette of India on 11 January, 2007 and has been enforced 1 November, 2007.

CAUSES OF JUVENILE DELIQUENCY

Juvenile delinquency, also known as juvenile offending, or youth crime, is participation in illegal behavior by minors (juveniles) (individuals younger than the statutory age of majority).

Individual Risk Factors

Several risk factors are identified with juvenile delinquency. A minor who has a lower intelligence and who does not receive a proper education is more prone to become involved in delinquent conduct. Other risk factors include impulsive behavior, uncontrolled aggression and an inability to delay gratification. In many instances, multiple individual risk factors can be identified as contributing to a juvenile involvement in harmful, destructive and illegal activities.

Family Risk Factors

A consistent pattern of family risk factors are associated with the development of delinquent behavior in young people. These family risk factors include a lack of proper parental supervision, ongoing parental conflict, neglect and abuse (emotional, psychological or physical). Parents who demonstrate a lack of respect for the law and social norms are likely to have children who think similarly. Finally, those children that display the weakest attachment to their parents and families are precisely the same juveniles who engage in inappropriate activities, including delinquent conduct.

Mental Health Risk Factors

Several mental health factors are also seen as contributing to juvenile delinquency. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a diagnosis of certain types of mental health conditions--primarily personality disorders--cannot be made in regard to child. However, there are precursors of these conditions that can be exhibited in childhood that tend to end up being displayed through delinquent behavior. A common one is conduct disorder. Conduct disorder is defined as & quota lack of empathy and disregard for societal norms & quota (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, American Psychiatric Association, 2004.)

Substance Abuse Risk Factors

Substance abuse is found in a majority of cases of juvenile delinquency, Two trends are identified in regard to substance abuse and minors. First, juveniles are using more powerful drugs today than was the case as recently as 10 years ago. Second, the age at which some juveniles begin using drugs is younger. Children in elementary schools are found to be using powerful illegal drugs. The use of these illegal substances or the use of legal substances illegally motivates young people to commit crimes to obtain money for drugs. Additionally, juveniles are far more likely to engage in destructive, harmful and illegal activities when using drugs and alcohol.

Identification

Through the process of identifying potential risk factors that spur a juvenile to inappropriate and even illegal conduct and behavior, early interdiction can occur.

Positive intervention, through programming, education and counseling, can divert a juvenile from a path that otherwise would result in delinquency as a child and crime as an adult.

JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, is the primary law for adjudication and disposal of matters relating to children in conflict with law. The Juvenile Justice Act provides that where a juvenile having been charged with offence is produced before a Board, the Board shall hold inquiry in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the inquiry shall be completed within a period of four months from the date of its commencement, unless the period is extended by the Board having regard to the circumstances of the case after recording the reasons in writing for such extension.

The Act further provides that the Chief Judicial Magistrate or the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate as the case may be, shall review the pendency of cases of the Board at every six months, and shall direct the Board to increase the frequency of its sittings or may cause the constitution of additional Boards, wherever needed.


CHILD ABUSE AND ITS PREVENTION

Child abuse was defined by Kempe and Kempe as a condition having to do those with who have been deliberately injured by physical assault. According to Burgess, Child abuse refers to any child who receives non-accidental physical and psychological injury as a result of acts and omissions on the part of his parents or guardians or employers.

According to an estimate, five to 15 children per 1000 children are abused by parents and employers in India.

The Four major causes of child abuse are as following:

  • Alcoholism of Parents.
  • Poverty.
  • Lack of parental control and non-cordial relations within family.
  • The parents facing child abuse in their own childhood.

Child abuse is categorized into three types;

1) Sexual

2) Physical

3) Emotional

The Juvenile Justice Act 1986 defines child sexual abuse as interaction between a child and an adult. Under the age of 18 for girls and 16 for boys is considered a child.

Emotional abuse is defined as the maltreatment or neglect of children. Emotional neglect comprises lack of love and affection.

Child Sexual abuse can be better defined as the involvement of dependent and immature children in sexual activities they do not fully comprehend, to which they are unable to give informed consent.

The Child suffering from physical abuse, shows aggressiveness in behavior or show reluctance when it is time to go back home after school.

These are the following guidelines to prevent child abuse:

  • Never discipline your child when your anger is out of control.
  • Participate in your child’s activities and get to know your child’s friends.
  • Teach the child the difference between good touches, bad touches and confusing touches.
  • Listen to them and believe what they say.
  • Be aware of changes in the child’s behavior or attitude, and inquire into it.
  • Teach the child what to do if you and your child become separated while away from home.
  • Teach the child the correct names of his/her private body parts.
  • Be alert for any talk that reveals premature sexual understanding.
  • Pay attention when someone shows greater than normal interest in your child.
  • Make certain your child’s school or day care center will release him/her only to you or someone you officially designate.

CHILD MALNUTRITION AND STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released on 9 October 2012 a report named Children in India 2012 - A Statistical Appraisal, showcased the griming status of children in India. The report in its finding pointed out a growth of population by 181 million people, between 1991 to 2011 and at the same time also a huge reduction of 5.05 million of child in the age group of 0 to 6 years. And among this the decline in female population reportedly was 2.99 million and of male population was 2.06 million.

The report indicates a huge dip in the sex ratios of child, increased crime and troubles against the girl child and continued child labour that is constitutionally believed to be a social crime.

The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report ranked India 15th, amongst leading countries with hunger situation. It also places India amongst the three countries where the GHI between 1996 and 2011 went up from 22.9 to 23.7, while 78 out of the 81 developing countries studied, including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, Myanmar, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Malawi, succeeded in improving hunger condition.

One More Report: The Hunger and Malnutrition Survey monitored over 100000 children in 112 districts across nine states in the country from October 2010 to February 2011. The Hunger and Malnutrition Survey report was released by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on 10 January 2012. The survey stated that forty-two percent of children in India younger than 5 are underweight and nearly 60 percent are stunted. India, with a population of 1.2 billion people, has the largest number of children in the world.

The survey conducted by a group of non-profits was the largest such study since 2004, when the Indian government had surveyed child malnutrition. It was found that though India's economy boomed, with growth over the last few years averaging about 8 percent, the country's development indicators continue to be abysmal.

Major Findings

The report found that of the stunted children, about half were severely stunted and about half of all children were underweight or stunted by the time they are two years. However, the number of underweight children was to have decreased from 53 to 42 per cent in the past seven years. The last study on the subject was done in 2004.

The survey however noted that positive change for child nutrition in India was happening, including in the 100 Focused Districts. The 100 Focus Districts are located across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – states which perform the worst on child nutrition.

The prevalence of malnutrition is significantly higher among children from low-income families. It found that children from Muslim or SC/ST households generally had worse nutrition indicators.

According to the report, birth weight is an important risk-factor for child malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight in children born with a weight below 2.5 kg is 50 per cent, while that among children born with a weight above 2.5 kg is 34 per cent.

Awareness among mothers about nutrition was found to below. 92 per cent mothers had never heard the word malnutrition. Also, the report stated that a negligent appraoch was shown towards girl children even in their early childhood. The nutrition advantage girls have over boys in the first months of life gets reversed over time as they grow older. According to the survey, the mothers' education level also determines children's nutrition.

Region wise malnutrition in India

  • Gujarat: In this state, 44.7% of children are underweight, 22.3% of the population is undernourished and 6.1% of children who die under the age of 5 die from hunger.

 

  • Karnataka: In this state, 37.6% of children are underweight, 28.1% of the population is undernourished and 5.5% of children who die under the age of 5 die from hunger.

 

  • Madhya Pradesh: In this state, 59.8% of children are underweight, 23.4% of the population is undernourished and 9.4% of children who die under the age of 5 die from hunger.

 

  • Rajasthan: In this state 40.4% of children are underweight 14.0% of the population is undernourished and 8.5% of children who die under the age of 5 die from hunger.

 

  • Uttar Pradesh: In this state 42.3% of children are underweight 14.5% of the population is undernourished and 9.6% of children who die under the age of 5 die from hunger.

 

  • West Bengal: In this state 38.5% of children are underweight 18.5% of the population is undernourished and 5.9% of children who die under the age of 5 die from hunger.

The Step taken by the Government to prevent malnutrition in Children Midday meal scheme in Indian schools The Mid-Day Meal is the world’s largest school feeding programme reaching out to about 12 crore children in over 12.65 lakh schools/EGS centres across the country. It was initially launched on 15 August 1995 in 2408 blocks across the country. By the year 1997-98 the NPNSPE was introduced in all blocks of the country. With a view to enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15th August 1995, Mid-Day Meal in schools has had a long history in India. In 1925, a Mid-Day Meal Programme was introduced for disadvantaged children in Madras Municipal Corporation. By the mid-1980s  three States viz. Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the UT of Pondicherry had universalized a cooked Mid-Day Meal Programme with their own resources for children studying at the primary stage By 1990-91 the number of States implementing the mid-day meal programme with their own resources on a universal or a large scale had increased to twelve states.

Integrated child development scheme

The Government of India has started a program called Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in the year 1975. ICDS has been instrumental in improving the health of mothers and children under age 6 by providing health and nutrition education, health services, supplementary food, and pre-school education.The ICDS national development program is one of the largest in the world. It reaches more than 34 million children aged 0–6 years and 7 million pregnant and lactating mothers. Other programs impacting on under-nutrition include the National Midday Meal Scheme, the National Rural Health Mission, and the Public Distribution System (PDS). The challenge for all these programs and schemes is how to increase efficiency, impact and coverage.

National Children's Fund

The National Children's Fund was created during the International Year of the Child in 1979 under the Charitable Endowment Fund Act, 1890. This Fund Provides support to the voluntary organisations that help the welfare of kids.

National Plan of Action for Children

India is a signatory to the 27 survival and development goals laid down by the World Summit on children 1990. In order to implement these goals, the Department of Women & Child Development has formulated a National Plan of Action on Children. Each concerned Central Ministries/Departments, State Governments/U.Ts. and Voluntary Organisations dealing with women and children have been asked to take up appropriate measures to implement the Action Plan. These goals have been integrated into National Development Plans. A Monitoring Committee under the Chairpersonship of Secretary (Women & Child Development) reviews the achievement of goals set in the National Plan of Action. All concerned Central Ministries/Departments are represented on the Committee. 15 State Government in India have prepared State Plan of Action on the lines of National Plan of Action specifying targets for 1995 as well as for 2000 and spelling out strategies for holistic child development.

United Nations Children's Fund

Department of Women and Child Development is the nodal department for UNICEF. India is associated with UNICEF since 1949 and is now in the fifth decade of cooperation for assisting Social Issues most disadvantaged children and their mothers. Traditionally, UNICEF has been supporting India in a number of sectors like child development, women's development, urban basic services, support for community based convergent services, health, education, nutrition, water & sanitation, childhood disability, children in especially difficult circumstances, information and communication, planning and programme support. India is presently a member on the UNICEF Executive Board till 31 December 1997. The board has 3 regular sessions and one annual session in a year. Strategies and other important matters relating to UNICEF are discussed in those meetings. A meeting of Government of India and UNICEF officials was concurred on 12 November 1997 to finalise the strategy and areas for programme of cooperation for the next Master Plan of operations 1999–2002 which is to synchronise with the Ninth Plan of Government of India.

National Rural Health Mission

The National Rural Health Mission of India mission was created for the years 2005–2012, and its goal is to improve the availability of and access to quality health care by people, especially for those residing in rural areas, the poor, women, and children.

The subset of goals under this mission is as following:

  • Reduce infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality ratio (MMR)
  • Provide universal access to public health services
  • Prevent and control both communicable and non-communicable diseases, including locally endemic diseases
  • Provide access to integrated comprehensive primary healthcare
  • Create population stabilisation, as well as gender and demographic balance
  • Revitalize local health traditions and mainstream AYUSH
  • Finally, to promote healthy life styles


 

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