“Is India doing marvellously well, or is it failing terribly?”
This question was put up by the renowned developmental economist Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen in the year 2011. The duo wrote an article in Outlook where they argued over India’s concept of growth and condition of living standards with the perspective of people’s well-being and freedom.
The question on India’s living standard has been asked year after year by many Indian and foreigner economists. Unfortunately, India’s social indicator throughout overshadowed by the appealing terms like growth rate and GDP.
India performs utterly poor while providing very basic needs like water, healthcare and sanitation. The poor social index has a direct impact on the children of India.
The data available on social indicators gives horrific account on the deprived status of Indian children. The figure suggests that in almost every social indicator the state is substandard. There are 444 million children in India under the age of 18 years. This number proves their 37 percent participation in the total population.
This children day let’s have a look at the social indicators to have a real picture of the condition of children in India.
Child Education in India
1 in 4 children of school-going age is out of school. That data states 99 million have dropped out of school. The ratio of students who complete their school from class 1 to 12 is only 2 percent. While only 32 percent children manage to finish their schooling at the appropriate age.
However, in the year 2010 under Manmohan Singh governance, the historic effort was made to enlist the education in India as a fundamental right. The Article 21-A of constitution guarantee free and compulsory education to all children of age 6 to 14. The RTE, however, excludes the children who are not availing the government or government-supported schools. The latest survey might give upgraded data after the implementation of RTE but as per 2011 census, the condition of education is indeed concerning.
The question of health
In the healthcare sector in the country, unfortunately, there is no care for children. The fresh figure of the year 2015-16 certainly gives the account of anaemia among children. 58 percent of the children between 6 months to 5 years are found anaemic while 36 percent of under 5-year children are underweight.
In India approx. 20 million children of below 6 years age don’t have enough to eat and are undernourished. According to the World Bank analysis, India ranks highest in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition; 38 percent of children (0-5 years) suffers from chronic malnutrition. The problem of under-height is equally worrying.
Coverage of immunisation is another big problem. In fact in the 21st century 21 percent of the children born at home without any medical assistance. Medical assistance given to new-born at the hospital is another matter of corruption. The country which aspiring to become leading economic power provides an adequate diet to only 9.6 percent of children under age 6 to 23 months.
Mental health is still a taboo to talk about in most of the region of the country. According to the 2015-16 data of National Family Health Survey, only 21 percent of mothers (1 in 5) received full antenatal care in the country. More than 50% of the pregnant women aged 15-49 years were found to be anaemic. The health condition of mother directly affects the mental and physical condition of the newborn.
Crime against children
Besides the problem of health and education crime against children is another unnoticed issue. According to the data of 2011 census, India has 33 million working children between the ages of 5-18 years. In several parts of the country, more than half of the child population is engaged in labour.
As per the data of (District Crime Record Bureau (DCRB) in the last 10 years, crimes against children has increased 5 times. The DCRB data also gives an account of child abduction, it reveals that in every 8 minutes, a child goes missing in India. Kidnapping and abduction is the largest crime against children in the country.
The terror of failures in the examination is the second highest cause of suicides among children.
Talking specifically about the girl child, the condition becomes much scarier. UNICEF says despite the ban over child marriage in the country, 1 in every 3rd child brides of the world is a girl from India. According to District Information System for Education (DISE), 42% of married women in India were married as children. The situation becomes more worsen when 2011 census says India has more than 45 lakh girls under 15 years of age who are married with children. Out of these, 70% of the girls have 2 children.
The figure about the social indicators not only bashes the claim of ‘shining India’ but also gives a clear picture of the poverty-stricken country. Traditional policy making and its implementation so far have failed to uplift the condition of its majority of the population. In fact, the future of India is in grave danger. The country is terribly failing down and politician with their bureaucrats are happy with the pamphlets of data which adds no fruit to the majority of the population; the poor population.
Dr Manisha Bangar also says that “Along with regionalism, casteism is also a big issue in …