Wednesday, 9 November 2011

It’s Capital punishment for kids: Survey

NEW DELHI: The state government may be trying to project Delhi as a world-class city, but the findings by "India's Child Rights Index", a first-of-its-kind report released on Wednesday, paint a different picture. The city ranks 12 in the country when it comes to ensuring well-being of children - assessed using 10 major indicators, including sex ratio, early childhood care, education, health and crime against children. Delhi's lead in providing education to children is offset by its poor pupil-teacher ratio of 1:100.

Kerala tops in the overall national ranking; the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Sikkim trail at the bottom of the index. The report points out that it is a matter of concern that the northeast is lagging behind despite a special ministry for the region and special budgetary provisions.

'India Child Rights Index' - prepared by voluntary organization HAQ: Centre for Child Rights - was released on Wednesday. The report comes at a time when the 12th Five Year Plan is in the works.

HAQ feels the index will help pinpoint the states that still lag behind in child rights' indicators. This will help ascertain areas of intervention, issues as well as geographical regions that need attention in the coming five-year plan.

Like the Human Development Index, education index, hunger index and health index now, the Child Rights Index attempts assess how different states and union territories fare in providing child friendly policies and where they stand in terms of securing the rights of

In the Child Rights Index, the states have been ranked on 10 major indicators. These include birth registration, sex ratio, early childhood care, child marriage, child labour, education, health, incidence of crime against children, victims of crime against children and crimes by children.

The ranking of states has not been done on the basis of absolute numbers, but in proportion to the number of children in the states. So, while a state may perform well in absolute numbers, it may figure low on the index.

The index shows that the so-called world-class city needs to do much more to secure the rights of its children. While the index shows Delhi on the top of the list in two indicators, namely education and birth registrations, it tumbles to the bottom of the list with a rank of 27 when it comes to early childhood care. The city fares poorly ranking 24 in the index for sex ratio.

As far as the incidence of crime against children and crimes by children is concerned, Delhi again cuts a sorry figure by ranking 19th. It ranks 17 on the index which takes into account the victims of crimes. The Child Rights Index states that although in absolute numbers, most of the child victims of select crimes are in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, the ratio of child victims to overall child population is higher in the northeastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The worst performers - Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Manipur - also have the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country. Maharashtra leads in terms of GDP. Delhi figures at number 10.

Delhi ranks second in the index on child labour. The index reveals that the states that have higher incidences of crimes being committed by children also are among the worst performers when it comes to child labour. Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland - all have very high percentages of children working as labourers. Mizoram is the worst performer being at the bottom of the list at 29.

That child marriage continues to be menace comes through in the report which cites that though Maharashtra ranks third in child rights, it has not been able to address the issues of child marriage and sex ratio. The state figures at rank 27 on sex ratio and is nineteenth on the child marriage indicator. Even Delhi with a predominantly urban character has much ground to cover to deal with the problem of child marriage. This comes through in the Index which ranks the state at number 11.

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