Children in India

Children in India
India is the largest country of the children in the World. As per the provisional figures of the 2011 Census number of children below 6 years is 15,87,89,287 includes 8,29,52,135 boys and 7,58,37,152 girls. Even though sex ratio of total population is increasing, sex ratio of children below 6 years is decreasing . In 1961 there were 976 girls in between 0-6 years per thousand boys but it was reduced to 914 in the 2011.
Number of females per thousand males in India
Census Year Total Population Children (0-6)
1961 941 976
1971 930 964
1981 934 962
1991 937 945
2001 933 927
2011 940 914

Poverty on children
Poverty affects on the health and nutrition status of children. Inadequate and irregular earnings affect the quantity and quality of food that a family can consume throughout the year, its standard of living, and access and use of healthcare. The extent of poverty varies considerably between States. Data from the Planning Commission with regard to the number and percentage of population below poverty line in States shows that in 1999- 2000, among the bigger States, Orissa had the largest percentage of population below the poverty line (47.15), followed by Bihar (42.60)National data establishes that nearly 10 crores out of 15.87 crores children are in the poorest sections of the community and one half of the total poor belongs to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Infant Mortality
Infant mortality ( the probability of a child dying before the first birthday ) expressed as a rate per thousand live births in a specified year. Infant mortality rate has been decreasing over the years. It was 192 in the year of 1971, 68 in the year of 2000 and 55 in the year of 2007. The decline in IMR is prevalent both in boys and in girls. But rate of decline is more in boys than the girls. 37 percent of all infant deaths in India are concentrated in two states , ie, in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar.70 percent of all infants deaths are concentrated in eight states ( Bihar, UP, MP, Orissa, Rajastan, Andra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat). IMR is high in rural areaa ( 61) than the urban areas ( 37).

Infant Mortality Rate
Year Total
1980 114
1985 97
1990 80
1993 74
1996 72
2000 68
2003 60
2005 58
2006 57
2007 55
Source: Office of the Registrar General of India,2007, India 2011 A Reference Annual
Child Mortality
More than one fifth of the total World child deaths are happening in India. About 21 lakh children die annually in India before completing their fifth birthday – most of them due to preventable causes. According to UNICEF report about one third of the currently married women in the age-group 15-49 years have Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 18.5 kg/m2 and
about 47 per cent girls in the age-group 15-19, have BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2 . Both factors are strongly correlated with low birth weight and thus with unfavourable outcomes for the mother
(increased risk of maternal deaths) and the neonate. Only four diseases – respiratory infections,
diarrhoeal diseases, other infectious and parasitic diseases and malaria – account for
about half of under-five deaths in India. Respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases
together contribute to 36 per cent of all deaths in children under five years of age.

Low percentage of Vaccination

According to the National family Health Surveys in 2005-06 only 55 percent of children age of 12-23 months received DPT 3 vaccine, 59 percentage received measles vaccine and 44 percent received all vaccinations.
Malnutrition of child
About one third of the children ( 5.4 Crores) under the age of 5 years in India are underweight. At present, Health and Child Care services to 83 Crore Rural Indians residing across 14 lakh habitations, 6.4 lakh villages and 2.3 lakh Gram Panchayats are provided, rather independently, through a network of around 11 lakh Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) of the Women and Child Development Department and 1.47 lakh Sub‐Centres of the Health Department.
Hygiene of the children
Inadequate sanitation, unsafe water supply and poor personal hygiene are responsible for 88 per cent of childhood deaths from diarrhoea. Poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water cause intestinal worm infections, which lead to malnutrition, anaemia and retarded growth among children. A survey on well being of children and women, conducted by UNICEF in 2005,
had shown that only 47 per cent of rural children in the age-group 5-14 wash hands after
defecation. 34.2 percent of the rural children and 80.8 percent of the urban children use toilets in 2007-08.

Child education

In the age group of 5–14 years, 89.3 per cent of children were in school in 2009‐10, up from 82.4 per cent in 2004‐ 05. Further this increase was higher for girls, rising from 79.6 per cent in 2004‐05 to 87.7 per cent in 2009‐10. In the 15–19 years age group, 59.5 per cent of young people were in the educational system in 2009‐10 as compared to 46.2 per cent in 2004‐05. Once again, the increase was more for girls, from 40.3 to 54.6 per cent. In the next higher age group of 20–24 years, 22.5 per cent of boys and 12.8 per cent of girls were still in the educational system in 2009‐10 against only 14.9 and 7.6 per cent respectively in 2004‐05. In terms of numbers, about eight million children in the age-group 6-13 are out of school, about 6.7 million in rural and 1.3 million in urban areas. The average number of upper primary schools per 10 square km is 1.45 while that for primary school is 3.30. About 74 per cent of all schools have at least one female teacher. According to the ASER survey of 2009, four out of 10 government primary schools in rural India do not have separate toilets for girls. The number is lower in upper primary school (26 per cent). Out of this, 12- 15 per cent are locked and 30-40 per cent are usable. There are wide disparities in the education facilities, standards, school attendance, educational standards of children in various states of India. According to the Census 2001, only about 61 per cent of children with special needs were attending school. The Out of School Survey of the MHRD estimated that about 35 per cent of such children were not in school in 2009. Despite improvements in access and retention, the learning outcomes for a majority of children continue to be an area of serious concern. Several studies suggest that nearly half the children in Grade 5 are unable to read a Grade 2 text.

Child labour

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986, to specifically address the situation of child labour. However, this law is inadequate both in its understanding and the framework that it provides for dealing with the problem of child labour.As per the criteria laid by UNICEF about 28 million children in the age-group 5-14 are working for their livelihood in India. But as per the Census 2001, only five per cent children were estimated to be working in India. Among the major states, Gujarat has the highest proportion of children working (32 percent) followed by Rajasthan (20 per cent). Kerala has only three per cent of children reported to be working. The children from the poor families are working more .

Child Marriage

The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (CMRA) prescribes a minimum age of 21 years for males and 18 years for females. In India, the percentage of women in the age group of 20-24 years who married before attaining the minimum legal marriageable age of 18 is 43 per cent . In Bihar 68.2 percent, in Rajastan 57.6 percent and in Jharkhand 55.7 percent of women married before attaining 18 years.


Available estimates of HIV/AIDS show that there were about 23.95 lakh people living
with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs) in 2008‐09 in India. Of these 38.7 per cent are women and 4.4 per cent

Caste discrimination against children

The Government has adopted a policy of affirmative action towards addressing issues of socially backward groups, such as the Scheduled Castes/Tribes and the Other Backward Classes as well as the girl child. Despite these, discrimination occurs in various forms. children born in the categories of Scheduled Castes/Tribes and Backward Classes including religious minorities start life with severe handicaps.


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