While India has a robust legal and policy framework to protect child rights, issues persist in effective enforcement and outcomes. Analyze the key challenges in translating the constitutional safeguards and legislative measures into tangible protection for children in the country.
While India has enacted various constitutional safeguards and legislation to protect children and curb discrimination, the effective implementation remains a major challenge.
Article 15(3) allows special provisions for children, Article 21A provides for free and compulsory education, Article 24 prohibits child labor, Article 39(f) aims to protect childhood, and Article 45 focuses on early childhood care. Further, laws like the Hindu Adoptions Act, ITPA, Child Labour Act, POCSO, and Juvenile Justice Act provide a robust legal framework.
However, the lack of adequate budget allocations, issues in proper coordination between center-state agencies, lack of awareness especially in rural areas, and social ills like poverty, illiteracy, gender bias, and prevalence of child marriages constrain effective enforcement. This leads to continued discrimination against girls, high child labour with over 10 million working children, rampant incidences of child trafficking and sexual abuse, and limited accessibility of marginalized children to schools and anganwadis.
While Schemes like ICPS, BBBP, and POSHAN Abhiyaan signify policy prioritization of child rights, the lacunae in last-mile delivery hampers intended welfare outcomes. Dedicated child protection units remain severely understaffed affecting monitoring activities. There is an urgent need to address these through measures like strengthening village-level child protection committees, gender-sensitization drives, promoting girl education, and boosting budgets for existing schemes to drive better coordination between districts and gram panchayats. Robust community-based interventions by mobilizing local volunteer networks can also aid in preventing child rights abuse. Establishing processes for periodic surveillance, prompt redressal mechanisms and stringent penalties can also act as an effective deterrent.