Charter reminds political parties Bihar’s future is also about its children
Unicef is involved in an initiative to prepare a charter of demands on behalf of children in Bihar for political parties busy fighting elections in the state.Updated: Oct 24, 2020, 13:43 IST
Children in the state are making their voice heard as Bihar assembly election 2020 draws near with their demand from political parties to make children’s issues a part of poll manifestoes and accord space to policies for their development and care.
In a charter of demands named ‘Bacche Aagei, Bihar Aagei, My Voice Matters’, released by the Unicef on Friday, political parties have been urged to take care of children’s basic needs such as drinking water and regular cleaning of children’s and teachers’ washrooms at schools, primary health facility and regular medical check up facility at schools and hospitals in the villages, and night school facility for working children- the breadwinners for their families.
The charter also asks parties to dedicate a day to children during the assembly session and increase fund allocation to address children’s issues.
19.1 million residents of the state are below 7 years of age and constitute 18.4% of the total population. A whopping 46% of the total population of the state is below 17 years of age. The percentage of anaemic child in the age group of 6 to 59 months is 43.7% in the state.
While the percentage of stunted children under 5 years of age is 38.4% nationwide, it’s 48.3% in Bihar. Similarly, while there are 35.7% underweight children under five years of age in the country, their numbers in Bihar stands at 43.7%.
Bihar’s total population is 104,099, 452—around 9% of the country’s population.
“Children are not voters, but they are the future of the state and of the country and their needs and requirements need to be discussed and debated. Children want all the political parties to come up with a comprehensive plan to address their issues,” Nipurnh Gupta, advocacy and partnership specialist, Unicef Bihar, said.
The charter of demands has been prepared with the support of numbers of social organizations who have been working with children, she added.
Sneha, the centre coordinator for the Child Rights Centre in Patna-based Chanakya National Law University, said children’s issues often remain under stated.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown and the flood situation in the state, they were the worst affected lot,” she said.
There are issues like schooling, home and health for children among the 10 lakh migrants who returned to the state during Covid-19 lockdown. Children of families caught in flood waters recently were worst affected as they had to take shelter along the National Highways with their families, she added.
“The situation was difficult, especially for girls, who needed sanitary napkins and washrooms. These are the basic things which need to be arranged on priority basis,” she said.