New Delhi, Feb 2: Dancing to folk songs and cheering each other, hundreds of children from 14 states paraded on Parliament Street here Saturday demanding more investments in education and health sectors.
They were part of NINEISMINE — a child rights advocacy campaign demanding that nine percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) be committed to health and education as promised by the Common Minimum Programme.
The children, from all walks of life and private as well as government schools took part in the procession that was modelled on the Republic Day Parade and held banners and placards scribbled with their demands.
“The government promised in 2004 to allocate nine percent of GDP for education and health in 2013. But the promise remains unfulfilled,” Karan Deep Bhagat, an activist associated with the campaign said.
Showing solidarity with Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old girl who was an outspoken advocate for children’s right to education and was shot by the Taliban, the marching children wore masks of the young activist while some of them had ‘I am Malala.’
The children also raised their voices against malnutrition and the health services in the country.
“Thousands of children die every day in the country due to these evils. When will the government act?” said a fuming 16-year-old Raju Singh from Uttar Pradesh.