Child rights deprivation high in India, says Unicef

47 pc of women and 16 pc of men married before reaching 18 years

Child rights deprivation high in India, says Unicef

Unicef representative Karin Hulshof with children at the release of 'The State of World's Children' in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

The statistics put together by Unicef reveals that India, which is home to one-fifth of the world’s children, is also in the forefront when it comes to deprivation of children’s rights to life, nourishment and education.

“India experiences child rights deprivations in greater absolute numbers than any other country in the world,” the UN agency said in a special edition of its flagship publication “The State of the World’s Children Report.”

The report released here on Friday said that more than 40 per cent of the population currently live on less than $1.25 per day, and 128 million people have no access to improved drinking water sources.

According to the report, rising incomes in the country have been accompanied by widening disparities in income, education, access to health care and development outcomes.  Citing the 2005-06 National Family Health Survey, Unicef identified sharp divergence in the access to essential services and key development outcomes across caste, ethnic, gender and wealth strata.

“These disparities extend to child protection, given the country’s moderate rate of birth registration (69 per cent) and high rate of child marriage,” the report said.
Despite legislation prohibiting child marriage, the latest household survey indicated that an estimated 47 per cent of women and 16 per cent of men were married before they reached the age of 18 years.

In addition, the country’s skewed sex ratio at birth and the high level of child labour remain significant challenges, it said.

However, the report has also appreciated the fact that India has come a long way since it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in December 1992.

The national under-five mortality rate fell sharply from 117 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 72 in 2007. The use of improved drinking water sources rose from 62 per cent in 1992-93 to 88 per cent in 2005-06.

Primary school attendance rates for girls climbed from 61 to 81 per cent over the same period, helping lift the gender parity rate for primary education from 0.82 to 0.96.

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