Every 2nd child malnourished; who cares?

Every second child in India is malnourished, but the issue does not feature high on the priority list of most parties with only five of the 10 major political outfits in the country making a mention of the matter in their election manifestos ahead of Lok Sabha polls, according to a report.

As per the analysis of manifestos of 10 major political parties by CRY — Child Rights and You — only five have mentioned malnutrition in their manifestos.

While Congress, CPI, CPI(M) and NCP have spoken about measures to reduce malnutrition and BJP has committed that it will eradicate malnutrition on a mission mode, parties like Aam Aadmi Party, AIADMK, DMK, SP and TMC have made no mention of how to tackle an issue as grave as malnutrition, CRY said in a statement.

The apathy by political parties is striking amid the grim statistics of the nutritional status of Indian children today with every second child in the country being malnourished, the report said.

The major political parties who were analysed for the report are Congress, BJP, DMK, AIADMK, CPI, CPI(M), SP, TMC, AAP and NCP.

Only four parties -– BJP, CPI, DMK and CPI(M) have incorporated a separate section for children in their manifestos.

However, there is barely any consistency on the issues covered in these sections, with some focusing on early childhood, others on protection issues and still others only on education and skill development, the report added.

“Children constitute one third of the country’s population, yet they remain one of the most neglected segments by our political parties, because they do not form a votebank. It is disappointing to see that grave issues like malnutrition do not even gain an adequate mention in their manifestos,” said CRY CEO Puja Marwaha.

As part of its election advocacy campaign, ‘Vote for Child Rights’, CRY had presented a charter of demands to political parties and urged them to put an emphasis on child rights issues in their manifestos.

Over 170 representatives of top political parties like Congress, BJP, NCP, AAP, DMK, AIADMK, TMC, CPI, CPI(M), etc. were approached by CRY which shared with them the demands along with the status of the children in India report, the organisation said.