Despite the much-touted promise of attention to the Northeast and separate budgetary allocations, states from the region are among the worst performers when it comes to realisation of children's rights, an index ranking states according to their performance on child rights, has revealed.
While all the 'worst performing' states are Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, three- Mizoram, Assam, Tripura - of the five states that fall in the 'not so well performing' category.
"This is clear indication that children's status in those states needs urgent attention" said Enakshi Ganguly, co-director, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, the NGO that has developed the holistic index.The CRI is timed to coincide with the 12th Five-Year planning process. States have been ranked on 10 major indicators, with each indicator consisting of several components. While an indicator like child labour has only one component, birth registration has two, the ranking on education is based on 23 components, health is based on 29 and crime by children is based on 46 components.
Inspired by African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)'s child friendly index, HAQ began its work on developing the CRI in 2009.
"It is a pointer to areas of intervention, issues as well as geographical areas in the forthcoming plan," the report said.
The CRI findings have validated some of the existing notions regarding some states, but have also thrown up a number of surprises. This is because opinions and planning are almost always based on absolute numbers. The index, on the other hand, is based on proportional calculation.
"So while Uttar Pradesh may have the highest head count of working children in the country, it is Mizoram that ranks the lowest because the number of working children in proportion to the total child population is highest in that state," said Ganguly.
"Who would have thought that Mizoram even had a child labour problem?"
Another finding of the report that should be of concern is the ethnic composition of the worst performing states with the situation of tribal children coming out the worst.
Interestingly, there is a regional pattern to the ranking, highlighting the need to focus on regional planning. Four of the five 'best performing' states (Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) in child rights are from the southern region. Maharashtra, alone is from the west.
The report will be formally released Wednesday.