Children: Their Rights, And Why They Matter
Reader's Digest India|November 2020
Every child is a right-holder and should be treated as such
Shantha Sinha

THE CHILD population in India today stands at more than 400 million, which is more than the total population of many countries in the world. As a large country with diversity in economic attainment, political and institutional histories and cultural specificities, the protection of children’s rights continues to represent a key challenge.

While there have been gainful achievements in child development indicators of health, nutrition, education and other entitlements—some states doing better than the others—these key areas continue to be abysmally poor for certain classes of children and more disadvantaged communities. Currently, India has the largest network of public schools with 1.5 million schools covering 260 million students, 13 million Anganwadi centres and noon meal schemes covering millions of children.

Yet, our country also ranks 94 out of 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index 2020—lower than Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. According to India’s National Family Health Survey 2015–16, 38 per cent of India’s children are stunted and 36 per cent are underweight. While the global infant mortality rate was 30.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, in India it stood at 41 in 2016 and higher still among scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and girls.

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