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Today, 57 years after Independence, the condition of the Indian child is a grim one. Sixty million Indian children under the age of six live below the poverty line. Every second child in the country is malnourished. Two million children in India die every year before reaching their first birthdays and less than half of India’s children between the ages of six to 14 go to school.
Hence, the Children’s Manifesto.


e seek your support in focusing on the following issues that affect every Indian child, while fashioning your party’s agenda:

1. A universal definition of “child” should be ensured to include all persons under the age of 18.

2. Government expenditure on children should be increased. Specifically, expenditure on education and health should be increased to 10 per cent and 5 per cent of GDP, respectively.

3. All children between six and 18 years, without discrimination, should be in formal, full-time schools that provide quality education. All children below six years should be in anganwadis. The Government should ensure that all children complete schooling up to Class X.

4. There should be complete prohibition on all forms of child labour across sectors, including agriculture.

5. The National Policy for Children (1974) should be revised to make it more comprehensive and in line with the Constitution and the United Nations Convention of Child Rights. The National Commission for Children with statutory powers should be established.

6. The Free and Compulsory Education Bill should be redrafted to remove sanctions on parents. Concerned Governments should face penalty for failure to provide free, compulsory education to all.

7. A comprehensive rights-based policy on food security should be formulated and implemented for all, with extensive legal safeguards. This will ensure that no child goes to bed hungry and no child is born underweight or stays undernourished.

8. Coverage of the Public Distribution System should be expanded to include all families below the internationally approved poverty line (1 US $ per day).

9. There should be immediate provision of nutritious mid-day meals in all primary schools and extension of this scheme up to Class X with inclusion of out-of-school children. Integrated Child Development Services should be made available to all children under the age of six, as per the Supreme Court order of November 2001.

10. There should be a nationwide employment guarantee programme for all adults in order to ensure that children do not have to work and can go to school.

10. There should be a nationwide employment guarantee programme for all adults in order to ensure that children do not have to work and can go to school.

We call upon you to speak up on behalf of our children. We urge you to hold representatives, political parties, policy makers and, most importantly, yourselves accountable for ensuring child rights for all children in this country.

Let’s vote for child rights!

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