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<strong>Let’s strive to make Children’s Day a happier occasion with every passing year</strong>

Let’s strive to make Children’s Day a happier occasion with every passing year by Volunteer Nidhi Lohia, FHI Kolkata

Did you know that the National Family Health Survey (2019-21) has depicted improvements in India’s nutrition indexes since 2015-16? The percentage of children under five who are underweight reduced from 35.8% to 32.1%. You can witness similar advancements in literacy levels and other domains, hinting at children’s emancipation from extreme poverty.

However, it is still a long journey till we reach our destination–to a point where our children (the country’s future) get free from the shackles of malnutrition, child labour, illiteracy, abuse, and other evils. The government’s playing its part by launching and implementing schemes like ‘Poshan Abhiyan’, ‘Mid-Day Meal Scheme’ et al. But, these efforts are insufficient to bring about a rapid change and we need to identify and fill loopholes with targeted action plans.

Where are we falling short in our efforts?

  1. Lack of information: No government scheme can register 100% success if people remain unaware. The Common Service Centres established all over the country are inept at conveying the message. They deliver fragmented information, consequently, the most vulnerable sections remain deprived of the policies’ benefits.

  2. Regional disparities: In comparison to the national average of 32.1%, Bihar has 41% of underweight children. This regional imbalance is evident in most domains, and we can largely attribute it to red-tapism and other forms of corruption.

  3. Interrelated problems: Dedicated policies are undoubtedly necessary, but their exclusive nature hampers the overall cause. For instance, Mid-day meal schemes will not drive those children to the school, who are bread-earners for their families. Thus, child labour, illiteracy, and malnutrition are intertwined, which the policies fail to address.

How to tackle these shortcomings and bring an effective change this Children’s Day?

We celebrate Children’s Day on 14th November every year. We can leverage this occasion to plug the gaps in the system and make the machinery well-oiled.

Through FHI’s platform

  1. Run online campaigns and spread awareness regarding the different government welfare schemes.

  2. Dedicate a section of our city events to relay the information to the children. Furthermore, volunteers can also explain the due process to benefit from the welfare schemes.

On an individual level

  1. Visit different NGOs, slums, etc., and interact with the vulnerable sections. Let them know of the various opportunities to improve at their disposal.

Some loopholes, like regional imbalance, can only be fixed by improving the coordination between the central and state governments. And also so between the local governing bodies and the higher authorities. However, as volunteers, our efforts should continue to create a dignified lifestyle for our future generation.

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