Children constitute principle assets of any country.† Children¬ís Development is as important as the development of material resources and the best way to develop national human resources is to take care of children.¬† India has the largest child population in the world.¬† All out efforts are being made by India for the development and welfare of children.¬† Significant progress has been made in many fields in assuring children their basic rights.¬† However, much remains to be done.¬† The country renews its commitment and determination to give the highest priority to the basic needs and rights of all children.¬† Children are most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.¬† A lot more has to be done for the health, nutrition and education of children.¬† It is unfortunate that girls in particular face debilitating discrimination at all stages.¬† Therefore, specific concentration is being given to the efforts to improve the life and opportunities of the Girl Child.
There are several constitutional provisions for children.¬† These include the following.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 14 provides that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 15(3) provides that, ¬ďNothing in this article shall prevent the State for making any special provision for women and children.¬Ē
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 21 provide that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 21A directs the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 23 prohibits trafficking of human beings and forced labour.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 24 prohibits employment of children below the age of fourteen years in factories, mines or any other hazardous occupation.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 25-28 provides freedom of conscience, and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 39(e) and (f) provide that the State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing to ensure that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that the citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength and that the children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that the childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬† Article 45 envisages that the State shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
There are several Legislations pertaining to children.¬† These include the following.
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
4.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992.
5.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.
6.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
7.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
8.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Guardian and Wards Act, 1890.
9.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†The Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956.
10.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† National Policy for Children, 22-08-1974
The National Policy for Children was adopted on 22nd Aug.,1974.¬† This Policy lays down that the State shall provide adequate services towards children, both before and after birth and during the growing stages for their full physical, mental and social development.¬† The measures suggested include amongst others, a comprehensive health programme, supplementary nutrition for mothers and children, free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years, promotion of physical education and recreational activities, special consideration for children of weaker sections like SCs and STs, prevention of exploitation of children, etc.
¬†The Government of India adopted the National Charter for Children which has been prepared after obtaining the views/comments and suggestions of the State Governments/UT Administrations, concerned Ministries and Departments and experts in the field.¬† The National Charter is a statement of intent embodying the Government¬ís agenda for Children.¬† The document emphasizes Government of India¬ís commitment to children¬ís rights to survival, health and nutrition, standard of living, play and leisure, early childhood care, education, protection of the girl child, empowering adolescents, equality, life and liberty, name and nationality, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, the right to a family and the right to be protected from economic exploitation and all forms of abuse. The document also provides for protection of children in difficult circumstances, children with disabilities, children from marginalised and disadvantaged communities, and child victims. The document while stipulating the duties of the State and the Community towards children also emphasizes the duties of children towards family, society and the Nation.¬† The National Charter for Children was notified in the Gazette of India on 9th Feb., 2004.
India acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 11th Dec., 1992 to reiterate its commitment to the cause of children.¬† The objective of the Convention is to give every child the right to survival and development in a healthy and congenial environment.
India is also party to the Millennium Development Goals and the SAARC Conventions on Child Welfare and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children in SAARC Region.
National Plan of Action for Children 2005 M/o of Women and Child Development has prepared a National Plan of Action for Children 2005 after harmonizing the goals for children set in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children held in 2002 and the monitorable targets set in the Tenth Five Year Plan, and goals for children in related Ministries/Departments.¬† The Action Plan has been prepared in consultation with concerned Ministries and Departments, States/Union territory Governments, Non Governmental Organizations and experts.¬† The National Plan of Action includes goals, objectives, strategies and activities for improving nutritional status of children, reducing IMR and MMR, increasing enrolment ratio and reducing drop out rates, universalization of primary education, increasing coverage for immunization etc. The Prime Minister¬ís Office is quarterly monitoring the National Plan of Action for Children 2005 on the basis of eight parameters.¬† These are as under:
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Reduce IMR to below 30 per 1000 live births by 2010.
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† reduce Child Mortality Rate to below 31 per 1000 live births by 2010.
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† to reduce Maternal Mortality Rate to below 100 per 100,000 live births by 2010.
4.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† universal equitable access and use of safe drinking water and improved access to sanitary means of excreta disposal by 2010.
5.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 100% rural population to have access to basic sanitation by 2012.
6.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† to eliminate child marriages by 2010
7.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† to eliminate disability due to poliomyelitis by 2007
8.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† to reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 20 percent by 2007 and by 50 percent by 2010, by ensuring that 80 per cent of pregnant women have access to ante natal care, and 95 per cent of men and women aged 15-24 have access to care, counseling and other HIV and prevention services.
Several Ministries and Departments of the Government of India are implementing various schemes and programmes for the benefit of children.¬† Some of the Schemes and Programmes being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development are as under:¬†
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for the children of working mothers
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a new Creche Scheme w.e.f. 1.1.2006 by merging the National Creche Fund with the Scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Organisations for Creche for Working and Ailing Women¬ís Children and also to revise the financial norms from Rs.18,480/- to Rs. 42,384/- per cr√®che per annum. The Scheme provides cr√®che services to the children of age group of 0 to 6 year, which includes supplementary nutrition, emergency medicines and contingency. The Scheme has been named as Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for the Children of Working Mothers.¬† These cr√®ches will be allocated to the Central Social Welfare Board, Indian Council for Child Welfare and Bhartiya Adim Jati Sevak Sangh in the ratio of 80:11:9.¬† The priority will be given to uncovered districts/areas and tribal areas while extending the scheme to maintain balance regional coverage.¬† Eligibility criteria under the Revised Scheme has also been enhanced from Rs 1800/- to Rs.12,000/- per month per family.¬† So far about 25605 creches have been sanctioned including 5137 creches sanctioned under erstwhile National Creche Scheme upto 20th Nov., 2006
Nutrition Component of Prime Minister Gramodya Yojana and Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls in 51 Districts being implemented with additional central assistance given by the Planning Commission, directly and indirectly contribute to promoting nutrition of children.¬† A National Nutrition Mission has been set up under the chairpersonship of Hon¬íble Prime Minister vide notification dated 31st July 2003 with a view to enable policy direction to concerned Departments of the Government for addressing the problem of malnutrition in a mission mode.
An Integrated Programme for Street Children is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development specifically for those children who are on streets and homeless and include the ragpicking and vagabond children.¬† The Scheme aims at providing full and wholesome development of children without homes and family ties. The children without homes and family ties and children especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation such as children of sex workers and children of pavement dwellers are the target group for this Programme. Financial assistance is provided to the NGOs who are eligible and working for the welfare of the street children, for Formal & Non-formal Education, Shelter Home, Vocational Training to Children, Nutrition, health care, sanitation and hygiene, safe drinking water, education and recreational facilities and protection against abuse and exploitation.
Integrated Programme for Juvenile Justice:
The programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with a view to providing care to children in difficult circumstances and children in conflict with the law through Government institutions and through NGOs.¬† Some special features of the scheme areas:
Establishment of a National Advisory Board on Juvenile Justice
Creation of a Juvenile Justice Fund.
Training, orientation and sensitization of Judicial, administrative police and NGOs responsible for implementation of JJ Act.
Institutional care shall be used but only as a last measure by enlarging the range of suitable alternatives.
Financial assistance to bring about a qualitative improvement in the existing infrastructure.
¬∑¬†¬† Expansion of non-institutional services such as sponsorship, foster care, probation etc as and an alternate to institutional care.
¬†Childline India Foundation (CIF) has been set up as a nodal organization, supported by Government of India, to monitor and ensure the qualitative development of the Childline service across the country.¬† Childline is a toll free telephone service(1098) which anyone can call for assistance in the interest of children.¬† It has prescribed minimum quality standards for the services to be provided by its partner organizations that are implementing Childline programmes in various cities of the country. It initiates preparatory activity that precedes the initiation of Childline service in any city.¬† CIF is also involved in awareness and advocacy in order to strengthen the efforts relating to child welfare.
The objective of the Shishu Greh Scheme is to promote adoptions within the country and to ensure minimum standards in the care of abandoned/orphaned/destitute children. Grant-in-Aid upto a ceiling of Rs.6 lakh has been provided per unit of 10 children in a Shishu Greh.
The Commissions for Protection of the Child Rights Act 2005 The Government has recently notified the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005 in the Gazette of India on 20th Jan., 2006 as Act No.4 of 2006. The Act envisages setting up a National Commission at the National level and the State Commissions at the State level. The proposed Commission would be set up for proper enforcement of children¬ís rights and effective implementation of laws and programmes relating to children.¬† The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights will be a statutory body to be set up under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act. The proposed Commission will have a Chairperson and six other Members, including two women members, a Member Secretary and other supporting staff. The Chairperson would be a person of eminence in the field of child development. The members would be the experts in the field of child health, education, child care and development, juvenile justice, children with disabilities, elimination of child labour, child psychology or sociology and laws relating to children.¬† The officers and the staff of the Commission will be provided by the Central Government. The proposed Commission would be set up for proper enforcement of children¬ís rights and effective implementation of laws and programmes relating to children.
The Functions of the Commissions are:
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Examine and review the safeguards provided by Constitution or any law for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Present to the Central Government, annually reports upon the working of those safeguards.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of most vulnerable children and¬† children in need of special care and protection
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Study treaties and other international instruments and undertake periodical review of existing policies, programmes and other activities on child rights and make recommendation for their effective implementation in the best interest of children.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Undertake and promote research in the field of child rights
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Spread child rights literacy among various sections of the society and promote awareness
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† inspect any juvenile custodial home, or any other place of residence or institution meant for children for the purpose of treatment, reformation or protection and take up with these authorities for remedial action
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters relating to,-
(i)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† deprivation of child¬ís rights;
(ii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† non-implementation of laws for protection and¬† development of¬†¬†¬† children;
(iii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or and to provide relief to such children,
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities; and
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Such other functions as it may consider necessary for the promotion of child rights
¬†The Powers of the Commission include the following:
(a)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
(b)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† requiring the discovery and production of any document;
(c)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† receiving evidence on affidavits;
(d)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; and
(e)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents.
(f)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† forwarding any case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same and the Magistrate to whom any such case is forwarded shall proceed to hear the complaint against the accused
(g)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† recommending to the concerned Government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or such other action as deem fit against the concerned person/s
(h)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† approaching the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;
(i)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† recommending to the concerned Government or authority for the grant of such interim relief to the victim or the members of his family as the Commission consider necessary.
State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Bill also provides that State Governments may constitute State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights in their State and designate a State level and other district level children¬ís Court in their respective State.
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Bill has similar provisions for State Commissions in respect of their constitution, reporting, functions and powers.
With the alleviation of the status of Department of Women and Child Development to an independent Ministry headed by the Minister of State having independent charge it was necessary to change the above provision to make the Minister in charge of the Ministry or Department of Women and Child Development as the Chairperson of the Selection Committee for the selection of the Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.¬† Hence, the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights(Amendment) Bill 2006 was prepared which has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament in the Winter Session.¬† The Commission will be set up once the above Amendment Bill is assented to by the President which would enable the Ministry of Women and Child Development to select the Chairperson and Members of the Commission for its constitution.
The initiatives are being taken for constitution of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.¬† The Rules for implementation of the provisions of the Act in respect for National Commission for Protection of Child Rights have been notified on 31.7.2006.¬† Ministry of Finance have also approved certain number of posts for the National Commission.¬† Initiatives have been taken for appointment of Member Secretary and staff for the National Commission.
Offences Against Children(Prevention) Bill
Child abuse involves several aspects, such as, sexual exploitation, economic exploitation, domestic violence, trafficking for prostitution, corporal punishment at school, and others. Therefore, the Ministry felt a need to have a dialogue on the issue so as to ascertain the views from all quarters and to formulate a consensus in order to address the issue more adequately and effectively.¬† Accordingly few consultations have been made with voluntary organizations and experts dealing with the subject.¬† It has been decided after consultation to constitute a small group consisting of representative from Government, NGOs, legal experts and social workers which will go into all aspects of the subject and after considering all existing legal provisions and others available on the subject and formulate a draft legislation to address all issues pertaining to child abuse. After wide consultations a draft Bill for Offences Against Children was prepared and circulated to the State Governments for their comments and views. After obtaining the comments of concerned Ministries and Departments a draft Cabinet Note has been referred to Law Ministry for their vetting.¬† The proposal will be placed before the Cabinet shortly.
The key objectives of the endeavor would be to analyse budgetary provisions on social sector, to identify the magnitude of budgetary allocations made by the Centre/State Governments on schemes meant for addressing specific needs of children, to examine the trend in child specific expenditure etc.¬† The main agenda for the exercise of child budgeting is to review resource allocations related to children; explore ways to increase budgetary allocations for children; assess budget utilization rates for social sector and child specific programmes, identify blockages and constraints to effective utilization; identify methods for tracking expenditure and monitoring performance to ensure that outlays translate into outcomes for children
Proposed Integrated Programme for Child Services.¬† As per the 2001 Census, there were 427 million children in the country. There are millions of children living in the difficult circumstances.¬† The child protection programme in India is shared between various Ministries, which have been implementing the schemes and programmes to reach out to varied groups of vulnerable children with complex and diverse needs. The important schemes and programmes for such children include Programme for Juvenile Justice, Integrated Programme for Street Children, Shishu Grih Scheme, Scheme for Working Children in Need of Care and Protection, General Grant-in-Aid Scheme, CHILDLINE Service, Rajiv Gandhi National cr√®che scheme for the children of working mothers, Pilot Project to Combat the Trafficking of women and Children for Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Destination Areas, etc.¬† However, experiences with the implementation of existing programmes and polices has brought out a large number of shortcomings in the system.
In view of the gaps identified and recommendations and suggestions received from various quarters it has decided to combine the existing child protection schemes under one integrated scheme titled ¬ďIntegrated Child Protection Scheme¬Ē. The proposed scheme aims to provide for care and protection of all the children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection. It would involve steps to strengthen families and prevent them to breakup leading children to become homeless and without care and protection. At the same time, children already outside the mainstream need to be provided support beginning from emergency outreach services to final rehabilitation with their families/ society. Details of the Scheme are being worked out which is proposed to be implemented in the Eleventh Plan.
OTHER ACTIVITIES OF CHILD WELFARE
Cooperation with UNICEF
UNICEF projects are being implemented in India through Master Plan of Operations, which is an agreement prepared after mutual consultation and consensus within the framework of Basic Agreement signed between India and UNICEF in 1978. India is the largest Country Programme of UNICEF in the world.
The Programmes are being implemented through various Ministries and Departments dealing with children which includes Ministry of Women and Child Development, Department of Elementary Education and Literacy, Department of Family Welfare and NACO, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, and Department of Drinking Water Supply (Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission).
The Ministry of Women Child Development is the nodal Ministry for coordinating the implementation of the Master Plan of Operations.¬† The Ministry of Women and Child Development conducts periodic review meetings to coordinate and monitor the implementation and expenditure of the UNICEF programmes in India.
The total allocation for the last UNICEF-GOI Programme of Co-Operation for the period 2003-2007 is US$ 400 million. An additional funds of US $ 100 million has also been approved by UNICEF for utilization in the current MPO period.
The current Master Plan of Operations for the period 2003-07 was signed by GOI & UNICEF on 13th January, 2003.
The MPO aims to achieve the following objectives: - (a) to empower families and communities with appropriate knowledge and skills to improve the care and protection of children (b) to expand partnerships as a way to leverage resources for children and scale up interventions (c) to strengthen the evaluation and knowledge base of best practices on children.
The programme contribute towards (a) reduction in infant and maternal mortality (b) improvements in levels of child nutrition (c) ensuring universal elementary education (d) enhancing child protection (e) protection of children and adolescents from HIV/AIDS.
The major activities included in different sectoral programmes are given below:
Child Development and Nutrition
Reproductive and Child Health
Child¬ís Environment: Water, Environment and Sanitation
Advocacy and Partnerships
India is annually contributing an amount of Rs. 3.80 crore to UNICEF
Children¬ís Day/Vatsalaya Mela
The Ministry of Women and Child Development organized a festival for women and children, Vatsalya Mela, from 14 to 19 Nov., 2006 at Cricket Grounds Taalkatora Gardens. The inaugural function on 14th Nov., 2006 was held at Vigyan Bhawan, in the presence of Hon¬íble Prime Minister.¬† The National Child Awards for Exceptional Achievements were presented to the 29 Awardee children on the occasion.¬† A list of the Awardees is enclosed.¬† About 600 children participated in the function which were brought by the voluntary organisation working for children.¬† These organizations were ICCW, Prayas, YWCA, Salaam Balak Trust, Arushi Salaam Balak Trust, Deepalaya, Bal Sehyog, Anubhav, Don Bosco, Ashyalayam, Asha Deep, Angaja Foundation and Butterflies.¬† Two organizations, namely, Amarjyoti and Akshaya Pratishthan brought the disabled children of the function.
The Vatsalaya Mela was subsequently opened by Smt. Renuka Chowdhury, MOS(WCD) in the evening of 14th Nov., 2006 for public. MOS(WCD), an exhibition on issues pertaining to women and children was also inaugurated on the occasion which was organized by the Ministry in collaboration with NIPCCD, UNICEF and UNIFEM which was one of the attraction of the Vatsalaya Mela.¬† The exhibition depicted various initiatives taken by the Ministry for upliftment of women and children and objectives and activities of institutions/Departments working under the Ministry such as FNB, RMK, NIPCCD and CSWB.¬† There were nearly 40 panels which displayed the working of the Ministry and various themes relating to women and children like young child, child protection, girl child, women¬ís empowerment, nutrition, security for all, etc. The Mela remained open from 9 am to 12 noon for school children and from 2 pm to 8 pm for public for 6 days from 14th November to 19th November, 2006.¬† About 300 children from Government Schools run by the Department of Education, Delhi Government participated on each day from 15th to 17th Nov., 2006.¬† In addition on 18th Nov., 2006 children from two Government run Children Home namely, Ujjawal Children Home and Nirmal Chaya and five NGOs, namely, Angaja Foudation, YWCA, Butterflies, Salaam Balak Trust and Bal Sehyog participated in the Mela. There were 150 children from children homes and 150 from five NGOs.¬† These children were basically the street and working children supported by these NGOs.¬† During this period there were cultural programmes and other performances for children.¬† At the same time the children had opportunities for participation in various activities such as on the spot painting, essay and story writing, GK and aptitude test, debates and quiz, athletic and sports activities.¬† There were competitions for the disabled children as well.¬† Various competitions were organized for children who showed interest in essay competitions, drawing/painting competitions, etc. The topics like child labour, national integration, education for women , street children, importance of education for girls, my mother, etc. were given in the essay competitions while themes like mother and child, a village ¬Ė nature scenery, condition of women in villages, etc. were given for drawing and painting competitions.¬† For undertaking these competitions children were provided with stationery items.¬† There were talent hunt competitions which included dance, singing, general knowledge, etc. The mela had facilities like music system and a dance floor.¬† Children were encouraged to come forward and show their talent in these competitions.¬† On the basis of the performances of the children prizes were distributed which were selected by a group of Judges.
The evening hours, from 2 pm to 8 pm, of the festival were devoted to women activities like cookery demonstration, mehendi, rangoli, street play, pottery, talk show, counseling, quiz, health check up, skill development, cultural programmes and others.¬† All activities were enjoyed by women folk.¬† It was an opportunity for them to move out of their houses and involve themselves in any of the activities of their choice out of the variety of activities organized by the Ministry for them.¬† Exposure of Self Help Group Members towards potential items which can be made at a low cost and with ease was made feasible through this Mela.¬† Women were also sensitized towards creative and skill development activities, healthy living as also enhancing leadership and capacity building qualities.¬† The Mela facilitated the aim of increased participation and promotion of positive portrayal of women.
In addition to above there were food stalls, stalls of SHGs with their products for sale and exhibition, FNB exhibition, MWCD exhibition, health checkups, counseling, Bioscope, Long stick men, jokers, clowns, , mehendi kiosks, street play, folk dance, balloons, kite flying, women helpline, childline, Giant wheel, joy rides, etc. There were stalls by Child Line Foundation, Butterflies and Salaam Balak Trust displaying information about their activities and products made by children.¬† The Child Line stall had a telephone line available throughout the period of Mela on which one could access to toll free helpline 1098 for immediate help of a child in need of care and protection.¬† Lot of public attention was attracted at the stall by playing Child Line Song on a regular basis.¬†¬† The entry to the Mela was free for all.¬† The festival was organized to raise the profile of the Ministry and dissemination of schemes and programmes of Ministry for women and children.
Ina function held in the Mela in the evening of 15th Nov., 2006 National Awards for Child Welfare and Rajiv Gandhi Manav Sewa Awards were presented by Shri Janardhan Divedi, Chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee.¬† A list of Awardees is attached.¬† Shri Raghuvansh Prasad, Minister for Rural Development and Smt. Kanti Singh, MOS for Industries also visited the Mela on 16th Nov., 2006.¬† Hon¬íble Speaker for Lok Sabha also paid a visit to Mela to encourage the children on 16th Nov., 2006.¬† Celebrities like Mr. Vivek Oberoi and Shri Kapil Dev also visited the Mela.¬† On 19th Nov., 2006 the Stree Shakti Awards were presented by MOS(WCD) in the concluding event.
Assistance to Voluntary Organisations for providing Social Defence Services
Under the scheme, assistance is given to voluntary organisations working in the field of child and women welfare for innovative projects and activities which are not covered in the existing schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.¬†¬† Under the Scheme in addition to the innovative projects being sanctioned in the field of women and child development projects are also sanctioned for combating trafficking in source areas and destination areas.¬† Rs. 39 lakhs have been utilised in the current year till November, 2006 from the allocated funds of Rs. 45 lakhs for the year.¬†¬†
National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement
The National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement was instituted in 1996 to give recognition to the children with exceptional abilities and who have achieved outstanding status in various fields including academics, arts, culture and sports etc.. Children between the age of 4 to 15 years who have shown an exceptional achievement in any field including academics, arts, culture and sports etc. are to be considered for this award. One Gold Medal and 35 silver Medals (one for each State/UT) are to be given annually.
The Awards for the child with exceptional achievement shall consists of :-
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† (A)¬†¬† Gold Medal ¬Ė 1 (One)
(i)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A cash prize of Rs.20,000/-
(ii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A Citation and certificates, and
(iii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A Gold Medal
(B)¬†¬† Silver Medals ¬Ė 35 (Thirty five)
(i)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Award money @ Rs.10,000/- for each awardee.
(ii) ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†A citation and certificate for each awardee, and
(iii)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A Silver Medal for each awardee.
¬†National Award for Child Welfare
The Award was instituted in 1979 to honour five institutions and three individuals for their outstanding performance in the field of child welfare.¬† The National Award for Child Welfare includes a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakh and a certificate for each institution and Rs. 1 lakh and a certificate for each individual.¬†¬†¬†
Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award
This Award was instituted in 1994 to honour an individual who makes outstanding contribution towards service for children.¬† The Award carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh, a silver plaque and a citation.¬† The Award were increased to three from the year 2006¬†
Parliamentary Forum on Children
A Parliamentary Forum on Children under the Chairpersonship of Speaker Lok Sabha has been constituted to deal with all issues pertaining to children. MOS(WCD) is one of the Chairperson of the Committee.¬† She gave a presentation before the Parliamentary Forum on Children on 22nd May, 2006 on the Situation of Girl Child.¬†¬†¬† Several issues relating to girl child were discussed during the meeting.¬† Hon¬íble Speaker, the Chairperson of the Forum agreed to take up the issues relating to children in the House as and when occasion arise.¬† He also agreed to take up child budgeting as an agenda for the next meeting.¬† In another meeting of the Parliamentary Forum on Children held on 10th Aug., 2006 under the Chairpersonship of Dy. Chairman of Parliamentary Forum, Ms. Prema Carriappa on issues relating to child labour¬† Swami Agnivesh presented his views about the problem of child labour in the country.¬† The officers of the Ministry of Women and Child Development attended the meeting and noted the suggestions made during the meeting.
Cultural Exchange Programme
Under the Cultural Exchange programme with Government of Mauritius the Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising workshops for the Mauritius delegation.