Survival still elusive for kids

They are prone to diseases, death and crime, says government report

Ahead of Children’s Day on November 14, a government report reveals a grim future for the country’s children with a high infant mortality rate, acute malnutrition among under-five children, declining child sex ratio and increasing crimes against them.

A child performs a rope trick in Hyderabad on the eve of Children’s Day. AFP

“As the statistics speak out loudly, we have miles to go to ensure a bright future for the children in all spheres of their life,” says the Children in India 2012 report of social statistics division of Statistics and Program Implementation Ministry, released recently.
The country has 19 children-centric legislation and runs 17 national level programmes. However, child-survival scenario is still a cause for serious concern.

Population

“While the size of child population in the age group 0-6 years is declining, so is the share of children as a whole in the total population; the number of girls in 0-6 years bracket is declining faster than boys, resulting in nearly three million girls dubbed as ‘missing’ compared to two million ‘missing’ boys in 2011. In other words, there are 48 fewer girls per 1,000 boys now than in 1981,” the report reveals.

“Though, the overall sex ratio of the country is showing an improving trend, the child sex ratio is showing a declining trend, which is a matter of concern,” the report states.
If declining child sex ratio speaks of gender discrimination, a high infant mortality rate shows overall social, cultural and economic barriers against survival of children.

The country is set to miss all the indicators of reduction in infant mortality for achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by United Nations for 2015. Projection of Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) for India in 2015 stands at 44 per 1000 live births against MDG’s 27, says the report. 

The country is failing badly in nourishing its child population is evident from the malnutrition scenario.

In India, 48 per cent children under-five years are stunted (or too short for their age), which means half of the country’s children are chronically malnourished. Acute malnutrition, as evidenced by wasting, results in a child being too thin for his or her height. As much as 19.8 per cent children under-five years are wasted, which indicates that one out of every five children is wasted and 43 per cent of children under age five are underweight. Underweight status is again a composite index of chronic and acute malnutrition.

Most polluted Children’s Day

This Children’s Day on Wednesday would witness the extreme pollution day of this year, scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and Indian Meteorological Department forecast. “After the first extreme pollution day Nov 9, Delhi will witness a more severe pollution day Wednesday,” said a statement issued here by SAFAR (System of Air quality Forecasting and Research).

Scientists from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and IMD have predicted that pollution from firecrackers this Diwali (Nov 13) would be about 10 percent less than last year.

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