Right to life, development for every Indian child

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Every child in India will now have a right to life, development, education and protection. The government Thursday guaranteed it by coming out with the national policy for children which was cleared by the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

“The union cabinet today gave its approval to the National Policy for Children, 2012,” the government said in a statement issued after the meeting.

The policy recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and that “childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own.”

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government said it “reaffirms” their “commitment to the realisation of the rights of all children in the country. “

Of its 1.2 billion population, 400 million children are below the age of 18 years in India.

The policy promises a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach for the harmonious development and protection of children.

Now with the policy, every child in India will be provided by the government a right to life, survival, development, education, protection and participation and equal rights for all children “without discrimination.”

The policy lays down the guiding principles that must be respected by national, state and local governments in their actions and initiatives affecting children.

According to senior officials of the women and child development ministry: “the policy has identified survival, health, nutrition, education, development, protection and participation as the undeniable rights of every child and has also declared these as key priority areas.”

Keeping in mind that children’s needs are multi-sectoral, interconnected and require collective action, the policy aims at active engagement and partnerships with all stakeholders.

It also aims to set up of a comprehensive and reliable knowledge base and sensitization and capacity development of all those who work for and with children.

The cabinet said that a national plan of action will now be developed to give effect to the policy.

A national coordination and action Group (NCAG) will also be constituted to monitor the progress of implementation.

“Similar plans and coordination and action groups will be constituted at the state and district levels,” the statement added.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ensure that the principles of the policy are respected in all sectors at all levels.

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