Put Children First!
 16th General Elections 2014

Child Rights and You (CRY) call on all political parties to become campaigner of rights of all children in India.

India, with about 430 million children, has the world’s largest child population with every sixth child in the world today referring to India as ‘home’. Although children constitute over a third of India’s population, they are accorded a low priority in national policy and governance decisions.

A cursory glance at the current status on some of the child-related indicators in India
Even after six decades of independence and vibrant economic growth rate, India has drastically failed to uphold the rights of its children. It is highly unfortunate that children are not top priority and issues related to children are not debated enough in political spaces.
CRY (Child Rights and You), a non-government organization working on the issue of child rights in India for last thirty four years, believes that concerted efforts are needed to ensure that children’s issues and concerns are heard and put on priority. Through this manifesto, CRY hopes to remind politicians about the Government of India’s national and international obligation to take all appropriate measures in ensuring that children’s rights are promoted and protected. The manifesto also aims to sensitize all stakeholders that it is time that we demonstrate our commitment as a nation to our children and that develop a zero tolerance towards children’s rights not being protected or realised. 
CRY urges political parties and governments in power to take heed and ‘Put children first’ and include the following commitment suggestions that can impact over a third of this nation’s population, when designing their own election agenda.

  1. Harmonise the age definition for all child-related legislations in line with National Policy for Children 2013 where child is any person below the age of eighteen years.

  1. Ensure Right to Education is fully exercised as fundamental right and Amend and expand the scope of Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 such that: All Children between 6-14 years get enrolled, regularly attend Elementary school and avail quality education. Also all children from 0-6 years and 14-18 years should come under the purview of the Act.  

  1. Strengthen implementation of Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) such that all six services viz Supplementary nutrition, Health Check-up, Immunization, Nutrition & Health Education, Pre-school non-formal education and referral services are effectively functioning. Also ensure that there is an adequate investment carried out in decentralized planning, universal coverage and trained personnel.

  1. Reduce child mortality and morbidity and ensure no child remains malnourished through carrying out sustained efforts towards complete immunization, regular health check-ups and growth monitoring, proper nutritional support and health counselling of all children under 18 years.

  1. Declare the Right to Primary Health care for Mothers and children as a Fundamental Right in the Constitution of India and strengthen Primary Health Care systems and child health amongst the urban poor.

  1. Ensure Food security at household level for all marginalized groups of people with proper implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 and consider amendments  i) increasing the protein/fat intake for pregnant mothers and children to 20-25 gms (according to Supreme court order) instead of current provision of 18-20 gms ii) including services such as immunization, health check-ups etc  which have been part of the ICDS as part of the Bill iii)making provision of supplementary nutrition for 14-18 age group children.

  1. Amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2012: to abolish all forms of child labour by removing the distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous categories of work for all children up to age 18 years.

  1. Invest adequately in ensuring protection for children by: i) implementing policies and programme that protect children from abuse, violence and exploitation; ii) investing in appropriate referral services for the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of abuse, violence and exploitation; investing in creating a cadre of trained professional iii) creating robust monitoring of implementation of child protection mechanisms, schemes and policies iv) creating a proper data base for child trafficking, street children, missing children and ensuring fully functional newly developed child tracking system – ‘Track child’.

  1.  Ensure Gender Parity, Social Equity, and the rights of Children with disabilities with providing equal opportunities for all social group – SC, ST, Minority group and urban deprived groups. Become more responsive to need of girl child and children with disabilities.

  1. Allocate sufficient Budget for Children (BfC) allocations by increasing the allocation from 4.64% to at least 10% of total Union Budget. Also introduce a child budget component in the budget of all allied Ministries and ensure effective National, State and District-level management and utilisation of outlays/ budgets

The best interest of the child needs to be put at the centre of all policy, legislation and practice affecting their young lives. India’s one third population deserves demonstration of commitment as a nation. It calls for action to express zero tolerance towards violation of children’s rights so that every child attains happy, healthy and creative childhood.

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