India belongs to the comity of nations who have reaffirmed successively to global commitment towards the cause of children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been a watershed in the recognition of the basic needs of the child as their rights and 192 countries have accepted that the needs and the rights of the children are similar world over notwithstanding their socio-economic, geographical and cultural differentials. The ratification of the Convention by India signaled its solicitousness to furthering the rights of the children and was a step further from recognizing state’s obligation towards the welfare of the children in the Constitution of India-the highest legal document of the land. It reflected the country’s commitment to provide basic needs of life, health, and education, protection from exploitation and servitude and respect to the opinion to its over 400 million child population.
Madhya Pradesh is one of from those states which are far behind the human development indices related to children. The picture related to Human Development Indices is quite worrisome, especially for a state where nearly half (46.86%)* of the total population is children, the financial resources and its distribution becomes very important.
In a survey, done few months back by National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, 52 percent children are Malnourished in Madhya Pradesh, the percentage was 60 in the third National Family Health Survey. It is clear that, malnutrition has reduced by ten percent in past few years. However over 12 per cent children in the state are severely malnourished. Madhya Pradesh ranks second highest in the country with 89 deaths per thousand children under five years of age. Among the districts Panna ranking first with 140 deaths and the second largest is Satna with 130 deaths per thousand children.
Compared to the 13.52 lakhs children in 1991, 10.65 lakhs children in 2001 are still working as child labours in the state which indicates reduction of just 2. 87 lac in 10 years time. Half the population in Madhya Pradesh is of children (0 to 18 years). Especially children belonging to scheduled tribe and scheduled caste, the health, education and other related Human Development Indicators show that their situation is extremely poor.
Child Protection is mainly about programmes related to juvenile justice and prevention and rehabilitation of child labour. At national level rate of crimes against children have declined about one percent, But Madhya Pradesh comes in first place in crimes against children in the country with contribution of 18.4 percent to the national average. According to the National Crime record bureau 2010, number of crimes in 2009 was 4646, which has increased to 4912 in 2010.
According to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh's , nearly 1.32 lakh children of age group 5 to 14 are out of school education. According to analytical report available to DISE, in Madhya Pradesh the proportion of school dropouts at primary and upper primary level is 15 percent which is very high and alarming. At the same time instinctive, accessible and quality education to all is a main challenge. On the development indicators India has fared quite well over the decade.
However, we are still lagging in certain vital respects and child centric indicators contradict the growth.