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Children left out of growth race

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 12:26 IST

Children in India have not gained from the country's economic growth. Making the observation, Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen said on Tuesday that the contrast between India's buoyant economy and its poor record on social indicators was startling.

“We still have a large number of undernourished children,” he pointed out. Delivering the foundation day lecture at the Institute for Human Development in the Capital on Tuesday, Sen said human rights should influence legislation on child rights but cautioned that laws alone cannot work.

“Bring in institutions that create awareness about child rights and provide additional understanding of children,” he said while elaborating on the lecture's theme, "Children and Human Rights."

Sen also pointed out that gender inequality casts its shadow on malnourished children as a weak woman will deliver only a malnourished child. He also called upon the government to review the schemes in the social sector. Terming the high rate of female foeticide in the country as a "national calamity," Sen said India’s record has not improved.

“In west and north India, the ratio of girls to boys is declining. There has also been a sharp decline in the birth ratio of girls from the 1991 Census (94.4) to the 2001 Census (92.7)," he said.

The Nobel laureate, however, had words of praise for the Supreme Court for its order on the Integrated Child Development Scheme.