New Delhi: Ensuring survival, health and nutrition as an inalienable right of every child and special care for kids caught in sectarian violence are some of the features of the government`s Draft National Policy for Children, 2012.
The Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry, which has revised the National Policy for Children for the first time since it was adopted in 1974, has now put the draft policy, which defines any individual below the age of 18 years as child, in public domain inviting views before it is finalised.
According to ministry officials, the policy would guide and inform all laws, policies, plans and programmes affecting children and all other actions of national, state and local Governments in relation to population below 18 years.
Amongst the key priorities listed in the draft are making survival, health, nutrition, development, education, protection and participation undeniable rights of every child.
As per the policy draft, every child has a right to be safeguarded against hunger, deprivation and malnutrition and the State would commit to securing this right through access, provision and promotion of required services and supports for holistic nurturing.
The State shall also take all necessary measures to improve maternal health care secure the right of the girl child and address discrimination of all forms in schools and foster equal opportunity.
As per the draft policy, the state would take special protection measures to secure the rights and entitlements of children in difficult circumstances, in particular but not limited to, children affected by migration, displacement, communal or sectarian violence, civil unrest, disasters etc.
Children of women in prostitution, children forced into prostitution and other abused and exploited children, those affected by HIV/AIDS, children with disabilities would also be eligible for state protection by the state.