Kids in Rajasthan urge parties to include health, education in manifesto
Two hundred children on Tuesday urged political parties to include their demands such as free distribution of sanitary pads, construction of toilets in all schools and electricity in villages, in election manifesto for the assembly election.
The event was an initiative of Rajasthan Right to Education (RTE) forum, Girls not brides- Rajasthan group, Jan Swastha Abhiyan evam Bal Suraksha Network, Udaipur and Rajasthan Baal Adikar Sanrakshan Saajha Abhiyan.
BJP leaders Suman Sharma and Rao Rajendra Singh, Congress leader Mahesh Sharma, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader TP Sharma and Nisha Siddhu from the Communist Party of India (CPI) were present at the event.
A booklet of the demands of the children was also launched at the event. Availability of free sanitary pads, construction of toilets in schools and electricity in villages were some of the demands put forward by students.
Under the ‘Dasham’ initiative, the state was divided into seven areas and over 900 children were asked to discuss problems with organizers in each area. The demands were then complied into a booklet.
Arvind Ojha, one of the organizers, said although children below 18 are not allowed to vote but they are the ‘future voters’ of the state and their demands should be heard. “41% of Rajasthan’s population comprises of children below 18 years of age. It, therefore, becomes important to hear the children out and consider including their demands in party manifestos,” he added.
Amira Khatoon, a 17-year-old from Jodhpur, said her village has no school or hospital. “People die before getting to a hospital in case of emergency. Is this what we call development?” asked Khatoon.
“Women living in villages get access to sanitary pads only during their time in schools. “What is she supposed to do once school is over? Where will she get access to sanitary pads?” questioned another student.
Translators in banks and schools were some of the demands raised by specially-abled children at the event.
Reacting to questions raised by the students, BJP leader Suman Sharma said: “If the children have to come on stage to speak about basic needs even after 70 years of Independence, we really need to ponder upon the questions. I will refer their demands to people preparing the manifesto for the election.” CPI leader Siddhu said.