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Children’s issues UPSC NOTE

 Neglect of children's issues in Indian political parties' election manifestos

  • India has the largest child population in the world (Children form about 30% of India’s population), yet most political parties turn a blind eye to children’s interests.

  • BJP’s manifesto promises to strengthen the network of PM SHRI Schools, Ekalavya Schools, and other such schools as per the National Education Policy, 2020, to make them world class 

  • Strengthening a few cost-intensive model schools to provide high quality education to a few children cannot be considered as an alternative to making systemic changes to improve the public education system

  • The BJP manifesto also speaks of working towards a 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) from the pre-school to secondary level but does not state any concrete steps that it will take to achieve this

  • Achieving 100% GER from pre-primary to secondary school is only possible if free and compulsory education, as provided by the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009, includes pre-primary, secondary and higher secondary classes.

  • The Congress manifesto promises to amend the RTE Act to to make education from Class 1-8 compulsory and free, but fails to acknowledge the importance of extending it to pre-primary — a sector with barely any regulation and oversight

  • The CPI(M) manifesto promises to expand the RTE Act from 3 to 18 years. 

  • The BJP does not discuss RTE at all

  • Further, both the Congress and DMK manifestos promise to provide financial support through scholarships or economic opportunities for children’s families to curb the dropout rates

On nutrition

  • While the BJP promises to focus on eliminating malnutrition among tribal children, the Congress promises to generally address nutritional deficiency among children. 

  • Both the parties fail to indicate any concrete measures to be taken in this regard, especially in light of the POSHAN tracker data which shows that at least 43 lakh children (0-6 years) are malnourished. 

  • The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), a crucial tool to counter malnutrition among children below five years, provides for a nutrition programme, nutrition and health education, and health check-up, among others. 

  • CPI(M) commits to universalisation of the ICDS Scheme to cover all children from the age of 0-6 years in order to provide nutritious meals to children in all Anganwadis. 

  • The mid-day meal programme for children has proven to be effective in providing nutritious meals to children (Class 1-8)

  • Building on its success, the Congress assures expansion of the scheme up to Class 12, while the DMK promises expansion of the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme for children to aided schools (Class 1-5).

  • The National Family Health Survey conducted in 2022 reported that India is constantly battling with chronic malnutrition in children

  • India is also falling short of meeting the Sustainable Development Goal of creating a world free of hunger by 2030

On health

  • Access to healthcare for children remains one of the biggest challenges today. 

  • In this regard, it is commendable that the DMK promises budgetary allocations to ensure complete healthcare during the first 1,000 days of a child’s development

  • It also prioritises mental health by aiming to provide for mental health programmes in schools

  • The Congress manifesto also promises to ensure full immunisation of children within 5 years

  • This percentage stands at only 76% as of today. 

  • Taking a straightforward stance on health, CPI(M) assures complete coverage of basic services, such as immunisation and regular health check-ups for all children.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Children’s issues UPSC NOTE
Children’s issues UPSC NOTE
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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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