Draft on child welfare gets stick

It has no reference to future projects, say members of the working group

The Karnataka State Plan of Action for Children is a document that is prepared once a decade and is meant to be a comprehensive report on the measures to be taken for the survival, development, protection and participation of the child.

Earlier this year, the DWCD, which wanted to prepare the draft for 2011-2020, decided to hire two consultants from Sattva Consulting Private Limited. The work was funded by the Unicef.

The results were disastrous. When a working group of child rights activists were called in to approve the draft, there was an agreement on one thing. The draft was shoddy, devoid of statistics, and had to be entirely redone.

“The draft has serious flaws. There is no consultation with the stakeholders, no consultation with sufficient number of groups working in the sector, no clarity, no convergence. We wanted to discard it and seek a new draft,” says Niranjanaradhya, one of the members of the working group, who has worked on child rights for the last 30 years.

He is pained by what he calls an entire lack of bottom-up approach. Another member commented that the plan of action simply did not take into account the earlier targets that were set and no statistical data was provided on any of the schemes, a claim supported by Niranjanaradhya.

“Every bit of detail about the children were collected from people in Bangalore and by sitting here in Bangalore. What about the children in the rest of the State?” the member questioned.

“There is zero reference to macro issues, and no mention of any future projects. It was never considered in the framework of child rights. They never accounted for any trends and the document was simply a compilation of the existing schemes,” said another member, Kavita Ratna.

Reworking

But what was heartening was the response by DWCD, she says.

“They have agreed to rework the whole document. Now, they are forming  sub-committees in several sectors that concern the child and we will also be a part of the drafting. In that sense, the Department has taken out suggestions well,” Kavita remarks.

Shamla Iqbal, the Director of DCWD who was hoping to release the draft on November 14, will now have to wait till March 2012 for the revised version to be completed.

“We are already in the process of notifying other departments like education, health, labour so that they can also be a part of the sub-committee we are forming, and they can give their suggestions as well,” she says.

The idea, according to her, is to make sure that other departments also take the onus, when the schemes are implemented.

Surprisingly, though Shamla Iqbal admitted to shortcomings in the draft, she claimed to have spent nearly nine months on data collation. If that was the case, it is a mystery why this data never found its way into the actual draft.

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