Children seek to raise issues before lawmakers

New Delhi, April 5: A manifesto written by children about issues facing them and what they need from the government and lawmakers was Saturday unveiled by 23 NGOs in the “Vote 4 Children” campaign for “children’s representation” in the Lok Sabha.

Devendra Tak, national manager of media and communications for NGO “Save the Children” said: “36 percent Indians are children and some of them have written this manifesto. We are fighting against child labour and for better health and quality education.”

Steve Rocha of “Nine is Mime” and convenor of the “Vote 4 Children” said: “The children can’t vote. Therefore, it is important they should be able to influence people who represent their issues and concerns in parliament.”

The demands include increasing allocation for child protection, health and nutrition in the union budget to 10 percent of the GDP, raising public expenditure on health as per WHO standards and stopping child labour.

The manifesto demands amendment of child labour laws and considering every individual below the age of 18 as a child.

It has called for abolition of foeticide, infanticide and gender-based selection of children. A national nutrition policy to combat malnutrition has also been asked for.

Surabhi, a student, who was part of a children’s delegation to the UN, said: “We went to the general assembly in New York and designed the manifesto after a lot of rational discussions.” She added: “I feel political parties should include it in their manifestos.”

She added: “Development is not development unless it has women and children who form a major part of India’s population.”

IANS