GUWAHATI, March 4 - Adolescent and Child Rights Network Assam (ACRNA) today submitted a declaration by the State�s children to the Congress, BJP, AGP and AIUDF calling for inclusion of children�s issues in the their election manifestoes.
The ACRNA delegation led by Dr Chiranjib Kakoty also included representatives from child rights organisations and children. �Elections are due and political parties will resort to high-sounding rhetoric to woo the voters. While the agenda of the parties invariably highlights diverse issues, curiously, none of the parties ever comes up with a specific agenda for children�s welfare. Children are our future citizens and the State or the nation cannot progress as long as children�s issues continue to be ignored,� Dr Kakoty said.
The declaration prepared by ACRNA after consultations with children and adolescents and with child rights bodies, focuses on specific areas such as healthcare, education, sanitation and hygiene, and safety and security, drawing the attention of the political parties to put those in their poll agenda.
�All services due to a woman during and after pregnancy and childbirth should be streamlined, as there still exist serious gaps in service delivery. Newborns should get birth certificates without hassles and there should be hundred per cent registration of births. Vaccination should cover all, including those living in remote and difficult terrain,� it said.
Similarly, all services from Anganwadi centres and local health centres must reach the intended beneficiaries. Ambulance service should function 24x7 and there should be monitoring of health centres and hospitals, it said, adding that strict action must be taken on quacks and unqualified doctors.
The declaration said that all political parties must treat the issue of nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers very seriously. �The high incidence of nutrition deficiency among these segments, besides children and teenagers, must be addressed. Implementation of Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Welfare Scheme, etc., need to be streamlined,� it said.
On sanitation and hygiene, it urged the parties to accord due thrust on ensuring pure drinking water, sanitary latrine in public places and educational institutions, and sanitary pads for menstruating teens.
It called for foolproof implementation of the Right to Education, especially in the flood-prone and disturbed areas. �The all-round development of a child�s personality is linked to sports and extracurricular activities. Schools should have a proper ambience for all this. Both qualitative and quantitative aspects of education are important and schools should have adequate infrastructure,� it said, adding that safety and security of children everywhere must be ensured.
The scourge of child marriage and child labour must be eradicated, while livelihood options for poor families need to be ensured. Child protection committees in villages must be activated and the special needs of the physically-challenged addressed.