Friday, 21 March 2014


BANGALORE, March 19, 2014

Updated: March 19, 2014 23:57 IST

Drive nets 202 runaways at City railway station


BOSCO volunteers deputed rond-the-clock rescue the children from March 10 to 16

As many as 202 runaway children aged between eight months and 17 years were rescued at the Bangalore City Railway Station during a week-long special drive conducted by a city-based child helpline.

The drive was conducted from March 10 to March 16 in association with the Women and Child Development Department and railway authorities to check the inflow of runaway children at the City Railway Station.

BOSCO, a childline, had deputed 50 volunteers in and around the station round-the-clock during the drive to rescue the children. Of the rescued children, 186 are boys, most of whom fled home due to fear of exams or following quarrels with their families, executive director of BOSCO Fr. P.S. George said .

About 130 children are from Karnataka, 16 from Andhra Pradesh and 13 from Bihar. Seventy-four of the 202 children were picked up between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Officials say this is the time when traffickers are most active.

With an average of 30 runaway children arriving at the city station every day, Fr. George said this means the number arriving in the city is far more as there are other entry points, including the state bus-stands, Cantonment and Yeshwantpur railway stations.

Though there are many helplines active in the city, their work hours are limited, which results in the rescue of only 20 per cent of runaway children.

Giving an example, Fr. George said seven runaway boys from North Karnataka who completed their first PU came to the city in search of jobs to support further studies. The boys lost their valuables. The boys said their families were poor and they left home to earn money. Ninety per cent of these boys did not have any skills and would end up as labourers, he said. “We have recommended to the government to educate the students and train the boys with some skills,” Fr. George said.

The rescued girls, 16 of them, said that too much control by their parents forced them to run away from home, he said.



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Acting U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

Addressing Violence Against Women and Children Is Critical to Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation and the Millennium Development Goals

Posted: 03/19/2014 5:53 pm EDT Updated: 03/19/2014 7:59 pm EDT

During this week's 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the global community will come together to reflect on key achievements and challenges in advancing progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls. This provides an opportune moment to examine the impact of one such challenge: violence against women and girls.

Violence against women and girls has impeded progress on nearly every MDG. This includes efforts to reach the MDG 6 target of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS--an epidemic that still disproportionally affects women and girls in many countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three women worldwide has experienced physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime. Women who experience violence also often face serious health consequences, including higher rates of unintended pregnancies, mental health problems, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.

Significant evidence linking violence against women and HIV has emerged over the past decade. A recent analysis by the WHO shows that intimate partner violence increases women's risk for HIV infection by more than 50 percent, and in some instances by up to four-fold. Violence also affects women's willingness to seek HIV testing and counseling or to stay on lifelong anti-retroviral treatment. Studies in multiple countries have also found that adolescent girls who experience sexual violence are up to three times more likely to acquire HIV or other STIs. These are among the many reasons why, through a new consolidated Gender Strategy, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will require all its country programs to report the number, age, and sex of people that they support in accessing post-gender-based-violence care, as part of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS response.

We also recognize that every year up to one billion children face some form of violence. These experiences can impede their progress toward realizing healthy and productive futures--affecting everything from their ability to succeed at school to their vulnerability to infectious diseases, such as HIV. As girls enter adolescence, they are more vulnerable to the same types of violence experienced by women--namely sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Young and adolescent girls are also vulnerable to early or forced marriages and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting.

Early marriage is devastating to a girl's health and education, and exposes her to greater risk of abuse and violence. Girls who marry young and bear children are five times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than women over the age of 20. The UN Population Fund states that every year 2 million girls between the ages of 10 and 14 give birth, and over 90 percent of these take place within marriage or some other form of union. Further, women who experienced violence as children are more likely to be in violent relationships as adults. Boys who experience or witness violence as children are also more likely to perpetrate violence in adulthood.

Launched in 2009, Together for Girls (TfG) is an innovative public-private partnership that is supporting efforts to addresses violence against children, particularly girls, by gathering data on its magnitude, nature, and consequences, and using these data to help mobilize national governments to take greater action. TfG brings together private sector partners, United Nations agencies, and the U.S. Government--through PEPFAR and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention, and in collaboration with the State Department's Office of Global Women's Issues.

Working with the CDC, TfG has provided national data on violence against children through the Violence Against Children Survey (VACS). For the first time, VACS have already been completed in four countries, and are at various stages of development and implementation in seven more, including in Haiti and Malawi. Results from completed VACS reveal that 26 to 38 percent of women and girls have experienced sexual violence before age 18, and well over half of them experienced more than one such incident. Moreover, 23 to 53 percent of women and girls reported that their first sexual intercourse before the age of 18 was unwanted. This is simply unacceptable.

Due in part to these findings, countries are stepping up their efforts to address violence against women and girls. Swaziland has launched a database to track cases of violence, has established courts that are friendly to women and girls, and is increasing post-rape care through one-stop centers. Governments in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe are scaling up national violence prevention and action plans. In Nairobi, Child Protection Centres have been expanded to reach more than 2,200 children with protective services.

The U.S. government and its partners are deeply committed to helping address violence against women and girls, including by supporting countries that want to tackle these issues head-on. This is critical not only to ensure that all individuals can participate fully and safely in their families and communities, but also can access HIV-related and other essential health services. We are pleased to see the growing momentum around these issues, and hope that additional governments and partners will take similarly strong steps so that, ultimately, we can bring the global scourge of violence against women and girls to an end.



Millions of children walking the financial tightrope to survive on India’s streets

·         3 DAYS AGO MARCH 18, 2014 12:06AM

Financial tightrope ... Indian girl Barsati, nine, goes to school a few weeks a year and spends the rest of her time performing. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

WITH a bronze pot balanced on her head and a painted bamboo pole in her hands, nine-year-old Barsati steps onto a tightrope nearly six feet above a Mumbai street.

Her midair performance varies — sometimes barefooted, sometimes in flip flops, sometimes walking inside a wheel or with a plate beneath one foot. But each time, her aunt thumps rapidly on a drum and draws in curious passers-by.

Indians on their way to work or tourists filming the spectacle with their smartphones throw rupees into a bowl on the pavement below.

Although most are amazed by her skills, Barsati, who took to the rope from the age of five instead of going to school, is nonplussed.

“Now I am used to it. People give us money,’’ she shrugged, taking a break between performances in the teeming Fort district of south Mumbai.

Barsati’s uncle Chotu Nath, who oversees the proceedings and gives his age as “about 20’’, explained that both his mother and his grandmother were tightrope walkers in their youth.

“It’s a family thing,’’ he said, adding that the children “never fall’’ because they learn from such a young age.

Barsati spends just a few weeks each year going to school during India’s rainy season, according to her uncle, but the rest of her time is spent earning for her family.

Exhausting ... Barsati spends five hours a day commuting to Mumbai from her family’s slum home to perform. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

She is one of more than 28 million Indian children estimated by UNICEF to be engaged in some form of labour.

A 2009 Right to Education Act mandates free and compulsory schooling for those aged six to 14, but an outright ban on child labour, proposed by the government in 2012, is yet to be passed by parliament.

The current law prohibits children under 14 from working in hazardous jobs — yet even this is not properly implemented, said Kushal Singh, head of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a government body.

“The basic thing is ignorance, and the belief that the child is required to earn for the family because families are so poor,’’ Singh said.

“This is keeping them in a vicious circle. The only way out is if a child studies and gets an education.’’

While methods to measure poverty are hotly contested, a study by the McKinsey Global Institute released in February found more than half of Indians lacked the means to meet their essential needs, spending less than 1,336 rupees ($24) a month.

Making a living ... As Barsati walks the tightrope, a family member beats a drum to draw in passers-by. Picture: AFPSource: AFP

Many children are therefore encouraged into work. UNICEF says more than eight million young Indians are out of school, and more than 80 million drop out before completing eight years of education.

Barsati’s rare skills allow her to take home 1,500 to 2,000 rupees per day for her family, according to her uncle, but her job on the tightrope leaves little time for schoolwork.

At the end of her day performing, she faces a two-and-a-half hour train ride to her family’s slum home on the outskirts of the financial capital, where her parents work as menial labourers.

Other relatives join Barsati’s commute to the street. Her little brother Rajababu, bearing a painted moustache, crouches by the tightrope-propping poles while she performs and occasionally picks up the bowl to encourage donations.

A baby cousin sleeps on the pavement through it all, shaded by a cardboard sign for a recent city arts festival.

“We want him to go to school,’’ said Nath, the baby’s father.

Mismatched ... Barsati sometimes doesn’t wear shoes for her midair performance. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Singh said attitudes towards child labour are “very slowly changing’’ in India, but much more needs to be done to alter the mindsets of both families and law enforcement agencies.

“They look on children as the responsibility of the parents. We still don’t internalise a rights-based approach to children,’’ said Singh, whose commission is launching a “From street to school’’ awareness campaign in March.

Yet there is sign of change on the streets of Mumbai, the densely-packed, so-called “Maximum City’’ in which more than half of the population is estimated to live in slums.

A survey released late last year by ActionAid India and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences found that 37,059 children were living or working on the city’s streets — down from more than 100,000 estimated by a UNICEF study two decades ago.

Some attribute the change to growing surveillance and a lower tolerance for street activity since militant gunmen launched deadly attacks on south Mumbai in 2008.

High pressure ... Barsari balances a bronze pot on her head as she walks the tightrope. Picture: AFP Source:AFP

But not all are convinced that street children are disappearing.

“The numbers are not going down, people are brushed inward into ghettos and into the suburbs,’’ said Zarin Gupta, chairwoman of the Salaam Baalak Trust for Mumbai street children.

She believes the city’s child labour force is continually replenished by migrant families from poorer parts of India, and that children trafficked into forced labour, often for domestic service or sex work, remain a huge concern.

Nirja Bhatnagar, Mumbai-based regional manager for ActionAid India, said the problem of working children could not be solved until strides are taken in improving India’s welfare system, including housing, healthcare and sanitation.

“At this point of time we don’t have any safety net, so everyone in the family has to fend for themselves.’’




BANGALORE, March 18, 2014

Updated: March 18, 2014 13:17 IST

Govt. to hold special camps to admit out-of-school children


They will be held in villages and taluks during the third and fourth week of March

The State government on Monday told the High Court of Karnataka that special admission camps would be held in villages and taluks during the third and fourth week of March to admit out-of-school children to nearby schools.

A submission in this regard was made by the government counsel during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition initiated suo motu by the court last year based on a newspaper report about children remaining out of school despite the Right to Education Act.

Meanwhile, the government also told the court that around 30,000 children had been admitted to various private schools under the 25 per cent quota of the RTE Act for the ensuing academic year.

It was also submitted on behalf of the government that the RTE Rules were being amended to bring down number of school dropouts.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, which is hearing the petition, adjourned further hearing till April 8, while orally asking the State to ensure that the school dropout rate came down to zero. The government would have to take appropriate steps to achieve this task, it said.

Notice to government

In another case, the Bench on Monday ordered issue of notice to the State government and the Lokayukta on a PIL petition, which alleged that special deputy commissioners were illegally exercising powers on appeals and revisions about disputes on mutation entries under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964.

In their petitions, freedom fighters H.S. Doreswamy and Suresh Chandra Babu alleged that the special DCs were illegally exercising powers even after the government in October 2011 entrusted only deputy commissioners to deal with appeals or revision under Section 136 (3) of the Act.

Despite this directive, more than 1,000 appeals had been dealt with by special DCs in Bangalore and as many as 680 appeals had been dealt with by a single officer occupying this post, the petitioner alleged.

The Bench ordered issue of notice to the Lokayukta on a oral request made by the petitioners’ counsel, while pointing out that an investigation ordered by the High Court in 2011 against special DC Ramanjaneya and others was closed by the Lokayukta in November last year citing that there was no complainant.

The court also ordered issue of notice to several officials who had occupied the post of special DC in Bangalore Urban district, including the incumbents.



DC CORRESPONDENT | March 18, 2014, 02.03 am IST

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the state government to make amendments to Section 6 of the Karnataka Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules 2012 to bring dropout children back to schools. The proposed amendments have to be submitted to the court within 10 days.

The court has taken up a suo motu case after learning that more than 54,000 children have been deprived of education despite the state enforcing Right to Education Act. The division bench headed by Chief Justice D.H. Waghela directed the state to amend Section 6 (a)(b)(c)(d) of the state’s Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules 2012.

The state government submitted that it would finalise the amendments after holding a meeting, chaired by the chief secretary, before March 29.
The advocate representing NGO Bangalore Civic submitted to the court that it has come out with draft amendments to Section 6, but education department officials failed to discuss the issue seriously during RTE meetings.


Adoption scam hits hospitals, nursing homes in Karnataka

Feb 21, 2014 - Bala Chauhan 


A scam of shocking proportions, which involves alleged sale of infants and ‘misuse’ of unwed or single mothers in various hospitals and nursing homes, has come to light in Karnataka.
Sources in the government and registered adoption agencies revealed shocking details of how several childless couples are circumventing the adoption laws and ‘buying’ infants in collusion with doctors and hospital authorities for sums ranging from `15,000 to `2lakh and above because they find it “easy and quick,” said an official source.
“The racket not only violates the adoption laws, which safeguard the interest of the adopted child and adoptive parents; it also encourages human trafficking. Gynecologists, pediatricians, hospital management and nursing staff are allegedly involved in this racket in which an unwed would-be mother, who comes to a hospital, is registered as the wife of a man, who along with his wife may have approached the hospital for treatment of infertility. The unwed mother delivers the child, who is then ‘sold’ to the childless couple but is recorded in the hospital records as their biological child. The biological mother meanwhile, leaves the hospital incognito after being paid part of the sale amount,” said an official source.
The sale proceeds are shared among the doctors, nurses and others.
In Malnad, a paediatrician allegedly ‘paid’ vulnerable young girls to get pregnant through illicit relationships and reportedly ‘sells’ the children to couples. In another case, a member of the child welfare commission allegedly helped a couple, who had a biological daughter to ‘buy’ a male child from a disempowered couple and even got the child registered as their own.
District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) officers have voiced their concerns over “disappearance” of childless couples soon after registration. “Some couples didn’t return after registering and initial counseling. When the DCPU went to their homes, they found them with a child. The child was not obviously legally adopted,” said the officer.
“There is a dramatic fall in the number of children being received by the adoption agencies. I would be very happy if this suggested that less number of children are being abandoned. Unfortunately this is not the case.
There’s a parallel system at work, which is totally illegal. People are directly taking babies from hospitals and nursing homes, which is dangerous and illegal. Some of them have later approached us to legalise the adoption. We tell them that we can’t help them and that they need to go back and do entire the procedure legally,” said Dr Aloma Lobo, chairperson, Adoption Consultancy Agency, Karnataka.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

It’s time for India to tackle poverty and child slavery

National Editorial

March 15, 2014 Updated: March 15, 2014 18:09:00




India may have set its sights on Mars and is aspiring to become a key global player, but its ambitions are in stark contrast to some of the realities it faces. One of the most shocking truths has come to light with the Global Survey Index mentioning the country as being home to half of the world’s modern slaves. This slavery ranges from severe forms of inter­generational bonded labour to forced and servile marriage, the worst forms of child labour and commercial and sexual exploitation.

In 2012, the Indian government banned all types of labour for children under the age of 14, making hiring a child a punishable offence. The ban followed the implementation in 2010 of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, popularly known as the RTE, which states that all children between the ages of 6 and 14 have the right to free schooling. Yet two years on from the child-labour ban, despite much talk, there has been little visible result on the ground. There are two main reasons behind the failure.

Like so many laws in India, RTE exists largely on paper. This explains why just a couple of months before the full implementation of the law, Unicef noted that some 28 million children between the ages of five and 14 were working. The government is considering more aggressive laws to ban child labour but, while more regulations are welcome, they will do little to solve the country’s most difficult problems: implementation and enforcement. Thanks to corruption within the government and a lack of political will, it is unlikely that anything will be done.

More importantly, poverty – the main cause of child slavery – is still rampant. India has a poverty rate of about 25 per cent, with more than 50 per cent of the population being under the age of 25. A large number of the 28 million working children identified by Unicef were neither being forced into labour nor being kept as slaves. For them, work is not an option, but a necessity. Therefore, poverty alleviation is key to eradicating child slavery.

India must also ratify the International Labour Organization’s Convention 182, committing itself to taking immediate action to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labour. There would be much more prestige for the country in tackling poverty, corruption and inequality than in sending a mission to Mars.


Poor state education in India threatens the futures of millions of children

Absent teachers, lack of incentives and low standards force Indians, rich and poor, into the private sector

Indian schoolchildren study at a government school on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Photograph: Noah Seelam/Getty

Armal Ali lives in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Lucknow, the capital ofUttar Pradesh, India. The family of 11 occupy a breeze-block shack with no windows. Ali works all day at a hand loom, sitting cross-legged on the ground, making embroidered saris that are highly prized across the subcontinent. But local residents know too well that such work wrecks eyesight and causes chronic backache.

Ali hopes that his daughter Ousma, 9, will lead a different life. "Nothing special," he says, "but at least sitting at a desk, for instance, with plenty of light around her." He would also like her to speak English, like "the people in suits who talk about money all day on television".

But when her father fell ill, Ousma had to leave her private school, as the family could no longer pay the fees. There was no free state school nearby.

Increasing numbers of Indians, rich and poor, are paying for schooling. The share of pupils in private education has risen from 28% to 33% in just three years. In rural areas it has almost doubled in eight years, from 16% to 29%.

Private schools organise classes in tiny rooms, sometimes outside. Even if rain means lessons are cancelled, it is still better than a class without a teacher, as is often the case in state schools where teachers are absent one day in five, on average.

This statistic sums up the learning crisis that, according to many researchers, now threatens development in India, where half the population of 1.27 billion is under 25.

The Annual Status of Education Report, carried out in rural areas by the non-governmental organisation Pratham, reveals that though enrolment is still high, at over 96% (a free mid-day meal is a major incentive), pupils do not learn a great deal. After three years 60% of them still cannot read, except for their first name maybe, compared with 54% four years ago.

A Right to Education Act, passed in 2010, requires all children aged six to 14 to attend school but pays little attention to what they learn when they are there. The act is more like an architect's brief, specifying the minimum dimensions of classrooms and playgrounds.

So how does one recognise a good school in the impoverished countryside of Uttar Pradesh? For one thing it should be near a road, enabling teachers to get there by car ... quickly, if they find out an inspector plans to visit.

In a little village in the district of Sitapur the primary school is deserted, but for dogs and livestock. One of the out-buildings is used for storing hay. We found the teacher sitting outside in the sun, reading the paper, with the few remaining pupils serving him tea.

Ali Ahmad is an assistant teacher and his job mainly involves child-minding. He earns about $55 a month, 10 times less than a qualified primary schoolteacher and without the job security. "The teacher doesn't often come, because he lives in the town, a long way from here. So it's up to me to do the teaching," Ahmad explains.

In Uttar Pradesh teachers enjoy a higher standard of living than most people, roughly 10 times the per capita GDP in the state. But this may be the root of the problem. "Such a high pay could be counterproductive, attracting the wrong kind of people," Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, both professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a recent article in the Indian Express, particularly as "there is no obvious reward for performance" and "children are promoted automatically".

Parents in one village we visited in Utter Pradesh prefer to pay around $1.20 a month to one of the many nearby private schools. To begin with, five or six children had private tuition under a tree with a retired teacher. A few years later there were about 160 of them, studying in various shacks. "At least we have a timetable. The kids know beforehand whether they'll be doing maths or reading, and the teachers are here every day," the head proudly explains.

Many parents are illiterate so they have little idea what their children are learning. But the idea of private school implies success. "It must be better than the state school because we pay for it," says one mother. Private schools have become so popular in Uttar Pradesh that they even win votes at elections, or so a candidate asserts: "Rather than handing out free alcohol the new thing is to build private schools."

The experts recommend reforms, such as grouping pupils according to their grade, rather than age, or streamlining the syllabus.

When Ousma left her private school in Lucknow she enrolled at an education centre set up by Pratham, where she has lessons in a small group of comparable level. In just a few months she learned to read and write, and now dreams of becoming a teacher.






SHIMOGA, March 11, 2014

Updated: March 11, 2014 14:20 IST

Grandmother sells infant girl in Shimoga

In a shocking incident, a 20-day-old infant was reportedly sold to unidentified persons by her grandmother in Shimoga on Sunday.

Nagi Bai (27), a resident of Kodatalu village near here, is the baby’s mother. Owing to health problems, she was admitted to the Government McGann Hospital here a week ago, and was being looked after by her mother, Somli Bai.

Police said that, on Sunday, Somli Bai had handed over the baby to two persons after receiving Rs. 1,000 from them. The hospital authorities immediately intimated the police. Somli Bai has told the police that her daughter was not in a position to look after the baby, as she was suffering from serious health problems, and added that Nagi Bai had also consented to the sale.

Superintendent of Police Koushalendra Kumar told The Hindu that a case was registered against Somli Bai.

Mr. Kumar said that an investigation had been launched, and Somli Bai had been interrogated. The whereabouts of the child are yet to be established, as the grandmother had not collected the contact number of those who took her.

A special team has been formed to track the child. The hospital authorities have been asked to provide the visuals of the surveillance camera installed there. The hospital staff will also be questioned, he said.


Why does Karnataka have the most child alcohol addicts?

Maitreyee Boruah, TNN | Mar 10, 2014, 12.00AM IST

Why does Karnataka have the most child alcohol addicts in the country?

A recent national study on substance abuse among childrenfound that alcohol use in this group was reported to be the highest in Karnataka: 88.9%. 

The report has reiterated what child rights activists have been saying about the alarming rise in substance abuse among urban and rural children.

The study — titled 'The Assessment of Pattern and Profile of Substance Use among Children in India' — was commissioned by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the country's apex child rights organization, and conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, New Delhi.

Innocence lost
Tobacco and alcohol use are higher among those living at home, compared to those living on the streets, states the report. "It's a concern for us as more youngsters are getting addicted to tobacco, alcohol and other recreational drugs. In today's changing social milieu, children have no role models. They think it's cool to smoke or drink. They don't realize that once they get addicted to a vice, it's difficult to get out of the habit," says M Kishore, psychiatrist.

Vicious circle
But that's not the only problem, says Vasudev Sharma, executive director of the Child Rights Trust (CRT) and State Convener of the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO). According to a survey done by the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) — a Bangalore-based human rights non-governmental organization — only 120 of the city's 200 de-addiction centres are licensed, while the remaining are "money-making ventures that offer no therapeutic value at all". "Many rehabilitation centres that are not registered under The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, are flourishing on the outskirts of Bangalore. What is worrying is that these rehab centres don't have expert counsellors to deal with children who are victims of substance abuse. Moreover, these centres don't follow up on the health status of their patients once they leave their premises. Thus, there is a high relapse rate among addicts," says child rights activist Nagasimha G Rao.

Facts about the study...
First nation-wide study comprising school-going, out-of-school and street children

Covered 4,024 children from 135 cities and towns in India

Covered children between 5-18 years from rural and urban areas

Call for stringent measures against unlicensed centres
Vasudev adds, "The government must take stringent action against these illegal centres that make money in the name of rehabilitating children whose lives have been ruined by drugs and alcohol."

Awareness is the key
"We are planning several campaigns against substance abuse to reach out to children, parents and teachers. Various communities will be counselled to address the issue," says Umesh Aradhya, chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR).

Experts also recommend that all states take the issue of substance abuse seriously and work towards ending the menace. In the national study, Kushal Singh, chairperson of the NCPCR, says, "There should be proper action plans to curb the growing menace of substance abuse among children, apart from filling in gaps on exclusive and curative centres for children in the country."

Substance abuse rates among children

Karnataka 88.9%
Andhra Pradesh 84.7%
Chandigarh &
Haryana (80%)

Meghalaya 96.4%
Nagaland 95.8 %
Sikkim 93.1 %
Uttaranchal 90%

Uttaranchal 70%
Haryana 63.3%
Meghalaya 50.9%

Meghalaya 27.3%
Punjab 19.3 %
Jharkhand 16%
Jammu & Kashmir 13.3%
Odisha 11.7%


India’s child mortality rate may worsen despite govt efforts: Report

India Philanthropy Report 2014 by Bain and Dasra says lack of funds will lead to more deaths of children

By 2025, India will need an incremental $12 billion over and above public health expenditure to meet its 2035 health objectives for women and children. Photo: AFP

Mumbai: India’s child mortality rate may worsen despite the government’s efforts to lower it because of a dearth of funding, according to the India Philanthropy Report 2014 by business consulting company Bain and Co. and Dasra, a philanthropic foundation, to be released on Friday.

The lack of a comprehensive ecosystem of public, private and philanthropic stakeholders to help close the gaps in reproductive, maternal, new-born, child and adolescent (RMNCH+A) health are also critical hurdles, said the report.

With a child mortality rate of 63 deaths per 1,000 live births, as of 2011, a target of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births can be achieved by 2035, the report said. “But if we don’t act now, instead of in 20-25 years, we may not reach our goal until 2055,” the report warned.

India has recorded a significant improvement in women and children’s health over the last 15-20 years. Maternal and infant mortality rates, the number of underweight children, child marriages and the total fertility rate have all declined. Several areas of concern still remain, including a high rate of anaemia among mothers and children.

The Bain-Dasra report said that by 2025, India will need an incremental $12 billion over and above public health expenditure to meet its 2035 health objectives for women and children, including slashing the maternal mortality rate by 60% and the child mortality rate by more than 70%.

Doubling the current share of contributions to health through mandated corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending and donations by high networth individuals (HNIs) can garner an extra $2.7 billion, the report said.

But multilateral and bilateral agencies are unlikely to increase their current annual grants of about $700 million. This leaves a shortage of nearly $8.6 billion to reach the $12 billion in funding needed by 2025, which will need to come from private foreign donors, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

The report said that in addition to strengthening health systems and scaling up healthcare programmes and services, private global philanthropy will be critical in catalysing the development of a vibrant healthcare ecosystem and enhancing India’s health delivery and support systems.

“When it comes to philanthropic capital, the pool is still developing. We are far from where we need to be. The coordination is not there for philanthropists to invest as much as they would like to, and that is why philanthropy is not at a large scale here,” said Arpan Sheth, a partner at Bain and the main author of the report.

According to Sheth, to bolster the confidence of philanthropists, India needs a larger set of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the scale and managerial expertise to facilitate the use of capital at the ground level.

“In the next 10-12 years, it is absolutely crucial for non-state actors to work with the public and private sector to help bridge the gap to reach transformational outcomes. Here, the expanding role of philanthropists and mandated CSR will be crucial,” said Smarinita Shetty, director at Dasra.

The report said the current coverage of 30 health-focused NGOs per 100,000 women will need to increase to 125 per 100,000 if India is to achieve outcomes similar to the success it won in the battle against HIV/AIDS or polio.

“Enhancing government training programmes to improve the efficiency of large-scale networks and intensifying focus and attention on vertical health issues to achieve long-term results such as anaemia, typhoid and HIV will make the lasting impact on women and children’s healthcare,” the report said.