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Government’s response to child-centric issues inadequate

Staff Reporter

Analysis by Child Rights Trust throws up interesting facts and figures

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

For child rights: The former chairman of the Legislative Council V.R. Sudarshan interacting with children at a seminar on ‘Legislature Commitment to Children’ in Bangalore on Friday.

BANGALORE: While legislators asked more child-related questions in the Assembly and the Council during 2007 than the previous years, the responses from the Government to these questions were woefully inadequate. There was a clear lack of focus, care and commitment in the responses and even in the questions raised by the legislators.

This is in a nutshell the analysis of the Question Hour of Karnataka Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council done by Child Rights Trust (CRT) on the topic “Are there children in the Vidhana Soudha?” The analysis was released here on Friday by freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, Karnataka Media Academy Chairman V.N. Subba Rao, UNICEF representatives Vikas Verma and Mishal St. La and CRT Trustee Padmini.

CRT went to the Vidhana Soudha with the question “Are there children in the Vidhana Soudha?” three years ago to know whether the legislators have made any impact on policies on children. Over these years, the trust was able to kindle awareness among legislators and the number of child-centred issues raised in the legislature has considerably increased.

Of the 224 MLAs, only 39 had asked five or more child-centred questions during 2007 with Chamaraja MLA H.S. Shankaralinge Gowda topping the list with 28 questions, followed by Jamkhandi MLA Siddu Savadi (26), Chamarajanagar MLA Vatal Nagaraj (21) and Belthangadi MLA Prabhakar Bangera (21).

The trust had invited a few child-friendly legislators to share their experience during the launch of the analysis. Former MLAs G.V. Srirama Reddy, Araga Jnanendra, N.L. Narendra Babu and MLCs Shobha Karandlaje, Prakash Rathod, Vimala Gowda, Manohar Maski and B.R. Gurudev were present.

Mr. Reddy warned that oppression of children has been continuing under one or the other guise and if it is not remedied, the country will burn. Before things went out of control, the nation had to wake up and address two primary issues — compulsory and free primary education and eradication of poverty.

During a workshop on “Legislators’ commitment to children” that preceded the launch, participants felt that though there were several legislations, the legislature and the executive did not exhibit any commitment to enforce them.

The plans and projects to address child-related issues should be chalked out according to the needs of particular region.

Besides demanding a separate commission or statutory entity for the welfare of children, they also demanded a single government agency to comprehensively look after all child-related issues.

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