Tuesday, 22 April 2014 07:43




India is home to the largest child population in the world. The Constitution of India guarantees Fundamental Rights to all children in the country and empowers the State to make special provisions for children. The Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution specifically guide the State in securing the tender age of children from abuse and ensuring that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner in conditions of freedom and dignity. The State is responsible for ensuring that childhood is protected from exploitation and moral and material abandonment.

The National Policy for Children (NPC), 1974 was adopted by the Government of India on 22nd August, 1974. This Policy describes children as a supremely important asset and makes the State responsible to provide basic services to children, both before and after birth, and also during their growing years and different stages of development.

With the advent of globalization and development, new challenges have emerged, which impact children’s lives, health, security and development. The recognition of the child as a person with inherent and inalienable rights, which are interrelated and interdependent, made it necessary to update and expand the 1974 Policy with focus on child rights. The revised Policy addresses continuing and new challenges, and aims to realize the full range of child rights for all children in the country.

Key priorities of the policy are:

a) Survival, Health and Nutrition

The right to life, survival, health and nutrition is an inalienable right of every child and will receive the highest priority. The State stands committed to ensure equitable access to holistic and essential health care, both preventive and curative, of the highest standard, for all children before, during and after birth, and throughout the period of their growth and development.

The State shall take all necessary measures to: Improve maternal health care, including safe delivery by skilled health personnel; Provide universal access to information for making informed choices related to birth and spacing of children; Secure the right of the girl child to life, survival and health; Provide access to management of neo-natal and childhood illnesses and protect children from all water borne, vector borne, communicable and other childhood diseases and Prevent discrimination faced by children with disabilities and provide health services needed by them.

b) Education and Development

Every child has equal right to learning, knowledge and education. The State recognises its responsibility to secure this right for every child, with due regard for special needs, through access, provision and promotion of required environment, information, infrastructure, services and supports, towards the development of the child’s fullest potential.

The State shall take all necessary measures to: ensure that all children enjoy their right to free and compulsory education from preschool to completion of secondary school without any disruption. The State shall ensure that every child in the 6-14 years of age is in school and enjoys her fundamental right to education as enshrined in the Constitution under the RTE Act.

The State shall ensure that there is universalisation of secondary school education so that children are in schools until 18 years of age and provision for hostels and residential facilities, scholarships and free education are made to enable children continue in the education stream.

c) Protection

A safe, secure and protective environment is a precondition for the realisation of all other rights of children. Children have the right to be protected wherever they are.

It is the responsibility of the State to create a caring and protective environment for all children, to reduce their vulnerability in all situations and protect them from all forms of violence and abuse, neglect, stigma, discrimination, deprivation, exploitation including economic exploitation and sexual exploitation, abandonment, separation, abduction, sale or trafficking for any purpose or in any form, pornography, substance abuse, or any other activity that takes undue advantage of them, or harmstheir personhood and affects their development.

The State shall promote child friendly jurisprudence, enact progressive legislation, build a child responsive protection system, and promote effective enforcement of legislative and administrative measures for comprehensively addressing issues related to child protection.

d) Participation

The State has the primary responsibility to ensure that children are made aware of their rights, and provided with opportunities and support to develop skills to form aspirations and express their views, in accordance with their age, maturity and evolving capacities, and enable them to be involved in their own development and in all matters concerning and affecting them. The State shall engage all stakeholders in developing mechanisms for children to share their grievances without fear in all settings (family, schools, institutions, community). Children must know that the grievance procedure exists, know how it works, and know how to file a complaint.

The State shall promote and strengthen respect for the views of the child, within the family; community; schools and institutions; different levels of governance; as well as in judicial and administrative proceedings that concern them.

The State commits to allocate the required financial, material and human resources, with transparency, and their efficient and effective use, with accountability, to implement this Policy. Child budgeting will track allocation and utilisation of resources and their impact on outcomes for children.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 07:17