Child rights violations on rise in UP PUBLIC REPORTER
Complacence to realisation, Uttar Pradesh’s socialist government’s great leap forward in child rights falls short. Uttar Pradesh is the largest state with more than 200,000,000 inhabitants and the second highest GDP in the country. If a nation it would most certainly be the fifth most populated country in the world. It would be imperative to say that such strong statehood entails a degree of complacence in the authorities on vital issues.
Here ‘child rights’ has been a neglected issue for the last two decades, where the state government was represented by almost every relevant political party across the spectrum. The state currently ranks 18th in child rights in the country and 27th in healthcare next only to Jharkhand.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on October 8, 2011 said that 50,000 lives have been lost in the last three decades as the public health system has failed in the eastern part of the state.
In a recent study of the Planning Commission, ‘Working Group for Social inclusion of Vulnerable Group like Child Labour and Bonded and Migrant Labour in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17,)’ the commission notes its findings that the share of Uttar Pradesh in child labour has dramatically shot up in the last one decade from 12.5 percent in the mid-1990s to 15.2 percent in 2001 to close to 23 per cent in 2004-05, which is a cause for concern.
Andhra Pradesh had highest number of child labour population in the country in 1991 and it has taken commendable steps to eradicate it. After the enforcement of Child Labour Act as on January 7, 2010, Andhra Pradesh conducted 2,89,275 inspections while Uttar Pradesh conducted only 24,399, which was lesser than Delhi (31,460), Uttarakhand (44,631), Nagaland (30,365) and others. Andhra Pradesh under the same inspection found 1,50,244 violations, prosecuted 52,836 people, and was successful in getting 17,279 convictions, being the largest in the country.
While Uttar Pradesh found 16,303 violations, it prosecuted only 7,569 people and was successful in getting only 405 convictions.
The Parliament had enacted the Commission for Protection of Child Rights, 2005, which under Section 17 requires every state to have a State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The Commission would have wide powers to settle and safeguard the rights of children. The commission can also take suo motu on certain occasions of violations against children. The Act is a great leap forward for safeguard of the rights of the children but after several reminders from the central government, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the government of India and many child rights activists and organisations Uttar Pradesh has taken no action.
Almost all major states have constituted such a commission, like Bihar (2008), Delhi (2007), Jharkhand (rules notified on 2011), Assam (2010), Orrisa (2009), Rajasthan (2010), Uttarakhand (2011), Madhya Pradesh (2009), Maharashtra (2009) and other states.
Thus to begin its journey from complacence to realisation, the state should first notify rules and institute the ‘Uttar Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ by the end of 2012. This is extremely necessary and vital as with every passing day crime and exploitation against children in the state is increasing and an effective and fairly autonomous institution is necessary to safeguard the rights of children.