“Child”, in terms of biology, a human being between birth and puberty, and another universally accepted definition that every human being below 18 years is considered a child.
If we talk about India, the number ‘18’ is important as you get the voting right, driving license, and even the legal contracts. Then comes the Marriage age for boys is 21 and girls are 18 according to the Marriage restraint act 1929.
So the question arises, is the children safe in our country as we get most of the things or rights after 18?
The answer is YES, we have special rights for children below 18 years of age. There are rights for standard living and their elementary education from age 6–14 years of age, according to Article 21A. Then we have the right to save them from 18 occupations and 65 processes that are hazardous for children’s life and health, according to Article 24.
Aside from these, we also have some rights as equal citizens of India. For example, the right to equality, the right against exploitation, the right to personal liberty and due process of law, and many more.
So we can observe that we have ample laws for the children from their liberty to their education. But the main thing is, children in India still face challenges in attaining their rights, particularly those related to access to education, forced labour, and child marriage.
National Statistical Commission surveyed literacy to be 77.7% in 2017–18 along with wide gender disparity in the literacy rate in India. Effective literacy rates (age 7 and above) was 84.7% for men and 70.3% for women.
The low female literacy rate has a dramatically negative impact on family planning and population stabilization efforts in India.
Then the health issues, diarrhoea, and malnutrition are India’s biggest killers of children under the age of 5.
The reason is poor hygiene, shelter and rare access to nutritious and proper food and these things target their immune system ultimately led to their deaths. Our country has a prominent mention in the annual global tally of deaths of children under the age of 5. For every 1,000 live births, 42 dies, and every 20 seconds a child dies from preventable causes like pneumonia, preterm and birth complications, newborn infections, diarrhoea, and malaria.
The scope of improvement can only be seen when the public will initiate to educate children and adults and the support of the grassroots level is important to ensure that the government initiatives are followed properly.
As children are the future of our country and we have to save the future.
Contributed by Abhay Rawat, Content writer at Mitti Ke Rang.
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