Child Rights: India’s Least Priority

Recently on December 4th 2011, we the students of St Joseph’s College gathered to spend our day with children to celebrate Childhood. Arround 200 kids from Khader Shariff Garden and Lakshman Rao Nagar in Bangalore took part in this joyful event. But unfortunately today not all kids today can lead a happy and funfilling childhood.

But instead many of them are caught in the chains of Child Labour, School Dropouts, Malnutrition, Kidnapping and Trafficking. These children are caught in the wrong hands who exploit them to the core. The reason being, because of the utter failure of capitalism in India, there is no shortage of cheap labour and hence children are easy prey to exploitation. Children unlike adults are not in a position to fight back and are forced to obey as told by their superiors.

The state of Infant Mortality Rate in India as of 2010 is 48 per 1000 live births i.e these many children do not see their first year of birthday. The under five mortality rate in India as of 2010 is 63 i.e these children do not see thier fifth year of birthday. Proportion of underweight children in India as of 2007 is 43.5%, which means nearly half of our children population is suffering from malnutrition. These satistics are not mearly numbers but they are the indicators into the real state of affairs in the so called booming Indian economy. But instead of acting upon these shocking figures, the pro capitalist Indian government is as usual turning a blind eye.

Every day in newspapers and news channels we hear some or the other cases of violence, attrocities and torture against children and most of them usually go unnoticed. This shows that how much really the Indian government is really concerned. Today children are employed in industries, factories, workshops, hotels, canteens, handlooms, machinlooms and where not. They work in hazardous environment which is very danger for their health and they are made to work from morning till night. At the end of the day they are given a meagre wage compared to the huge profits that are made by the owners of these industries.

Indian Government has utterly failed to deliver on the social service sector which could have made a huge difference. Free, Compulsory and quality education for all and Incentives for underpriviliged children, Nutritious food for children through Public Distribution System (PDS), Immunsation programes and Good health facilities, protection from all forms of oppression and child welfare are all only on paper and nice journals but never been the norm in the history of independent India. It is time start to questioning the priorities of this government that is busy in promoting millionaires and billionaires while the the rest of the population (i.e., 836 million living on Rs. 20 a day) continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Azhar Khan

Student, St. Joseph College – Bangalore

(The above article appeared in the Jan-Feb 2012 edition of Dudiyoora Horaata)