ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Education of Children and Civil Strife in Chhattisgarh

This field study from Bijapur district of Bastar division, Chhattisgarh, ascertains the current status of participation of children from different social groups in elementary education and explores the specific factors caused by civil strife, based on interviews with and observations of children, parents, educational administrators and government functionaries.

Disabled Schoolchildren and Their Challenges

Disability, a socially defined global phenomenon, varies from state to state in India, and is based on gender and rural–urban backgrounds. A study conducted in Sipajhar block of Assam shows that physically and mentally challenged schoolchildren face severe discrimination. As the existing policies and programmes are insufficient to wipe out the stigma attached to their lives, we need widespread awareness programmes to give the persons with disabilities a dignified life and to include them in the mainstream development processes.

‘I’ll Have One Customised Baby, Please, Thank You’

The US Patent and Trademark Office recently granted a patent for a technology that would let prospective parents specify the traits of their offspring, from health risks to eye colour.

Coming Back to Normal?

An analysis of data from Censuses 2001 and 2011 shows that despite the increase in overall population sex ratio in this period, the 0-6 sex ratio and 0-1 sex ratio have continued to decline. This suggests that there is no let-up in daughter defi cit. However, one positive factor is that the north-western states which have had a long history of high levels of daughter defi cit have shown an increase in the 0-1 sex ratio. The reasons for this need to be determined. Another positive aspect is that daughter defi cit seems to be lower amongst the younger cohort of currently married women; it will be interesting to see whether this persists as the cohort ages.

Maternal and Child Health

The data from the Rapid Survey on Children conducted in 2013-14, released after an inexplicable delay and still in a summary fashion, show some but patchy progress between 2005-06 and 2013-14 in maternal and child health indicators. A preliminary analysis indicates that in those areas where special efforts were made, such as in increasing institutional delivery and expanding immunisation coverage, some results are seen. This calls for greater investments in health and nutrition within a more comprehensive approach.

Nutrition Programmes Face Fund Crunch

At a time, when there is widespread concern about the very high levels of child malnutrition in India, important nutrition programmes may be badly threatened due to budget cuts.

Children's Development

The Integrated Child Development Services scheme and maternity entitlements can play a crucial role in improving children's food and nutrition security. Both interventions are part of the National Food Security Act, though maternity entitlements have yet to be activated. Odisha has experimented with several creative policies, including initiating a maternity entitlements scheme in 2011 before the NFSA was enacted, introduction of eggs and decentralised procurement of take-home rations in the ICDS. This article, based on a field study of the two children's schemes in four districts in December 2014, reports how they perform and identifies areas for further action.

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign aims at arresting India’s deteriorating child sex ratio through communications and advocacy. It must be acknowledged, however, that behavioural and larger social changes are not effective without wider policy changes.

Rescuing Childhood

The editorial “Let the Children Play” (EPW, 18 April 2015) is thought-provoking. The problem of child labour can be contextualised as a structural one.

Nutrition: What Needs To Be Done?

About 805 million people - one in nine people worldwide - remain chronically hungry. Ending hunger and malnutrition requires strong political commitment at the highest level, effective coordination among various ministries and partners, and broad-based social participation. Three policy priorities are crucial to ending malnutrition - expansion of social protection; making smallholder agriculture more nutrition sensitive; and focusing on under-fi ve child and maternal nutrition defi ciencies. An integrated approach is needed to ensure that food consumed is nutritious, wholesome, acceptable, safe and affordable, especially to the poorest and most vulnerable.

Children's Illnesses

Acute respiratory illness and diarrhoea cause high levels of child morbidity and mortality in Jammu and Kashmir, and high levels of insurgency and an unstable political environment have usually been identified as the two main causes for the poor health conditions in the state. This article is based on a study which compares J&K with Himachal Pradesh and finds that some of the causes for poor health oucomes in the former may be unrelated to insurgency or related issues.

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