NHRC seeks reply on slumkids' deaths | delhi | Hindustan Times
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NHRC seeks reply on slumkids' deaths

Taking cognisance of the deaths of 16 children due to malnutrition in a Mumbai slum since April this year, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the union health ministry and the state government.

delhi Updated: Dec 27, 2010 23:36 IST
Satya Prakash

Taking cognisance of the deaths of 16 children due to malnutrition in a Mumbai slum since April this year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the union health ministry and the state government.

"The contents of the press report, if true, raise serious issues of violation of human rights of the children in Mumbai," the commission said, seeking separate reports from the union health secretary and the Maharashtra chief secretary in four weeks.

HT had on December 13 reported that at least 16 children under six years of age had died due to malnutrition and related illness since April this year in Shivaji Nagar, Govandi, North-East Mumbai, and 40% to 60% of the city’s nearly 7.3 lakh children up to the age of four living in slums were malnourished.

"The scale of malnutrition in Mumbai suggests a failure in the delivery of government services, and particularly of the 35 years of Integrated Child Development Scheme, the central government’s primary means of addressing malnutrition countrywide among below-6 children and pregnant and lactating women," the NHRC quoted the HT report.

According to the state government figures, 3.5% of Greater Mumbai's slum children under six die every year because of poor nutrition and increased risk of infections — a figure largely accepted by academics and social workers.

The city has about 7.3 lakh slum children below the age of six, according to the National Family Health Survey, so at least 25,550 children die of malnutrition and related illnesses every year. These are deaths between kids between four and six; those under four constitute the bulk.