In child poverty, India next only to sub-Saharan Africa: Report

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 06, 2019

India consists of 30.3 per cent of extremely poor children living across the world

India is second only to sub-saharan Africa in how many poor children live in the country, states a joint report released by UNICEF and International Labour Organization (ILO) on Wednesday. India consists of 30.3 per cent of extremely poor children living across the world. Close to 9.97 crore children in India live in poverty-stricken conditions.

The report states that in the light of this, in 2017, India expanded the nationwide extension of conditional cash transfer programme for pregnant and lactating women as a part of Maternity Benefit Programme (a cash transfer of ₹6,000 paid in 3 installments — at the early registration of pregnancy, at the time of instituitional delivery and three months after delivery if the child is registered and has received BCG vaccination as well as OPV and DPT-1 and 2 vaccines. However, it later limited the maternity benefit to one child only (instead of two, as was previously announced in January 2017). This has been deemed it as a ‘contraction’.

This goes against the universal social protection for children that forms Sustainable Development Goal 1.3. “The fact that hundreds of millions of children are denied access to social protection contradicts democratic values and social justice, damages development efforts, and has high political costs for governments,” warned the report.

The report has cited the example of Bihar in another case which rolls out Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana, which transfers close to $800 (over ₹57,000) to a girl starting from birth going upto primary, secondary and then college graduation level, and maximum of two girls can benefit from the family for the scheme. The report has deemed this as a quasi-Universal Child Grants programme in India which is being hoped to uplift the status of girl child.

Published on February 06, 2019

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