BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government is all set to introduce a new policy to safeguard the rights of children and address issues of their health and welfare.
The State Policy for Children will focus on making institutions responsive to the needs of children and taking effective steps to ensure the quality of life for them at all stages of growing up. The policy aims to simplify rules and processes relating to children’s issues.
It mandates free and immediate registration of all children at birth through suitable and simplified mechanisms. A database of all orphaned children, cases of child labour, child marriage, school dropouts and children in hardship will be maintained so that they can be tracked for necessary protection and support.
Special measures will be taken to protect children from all major health hazards including diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, waterborne and communicable diseases, chronic malnutrition, childhood anaemia and other health risks.
The policy will also ensure nurturing of non-conventional and gifted children, promote creative activities, prevent misuse of technology and internet besides effective implementation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and other legislation and policies for child protection in the State. Childcare and education institutions will be strengthened to play a proactive role in preventing child sexual abuse, trafficking, violence and harmful healing practices.
The policy aims to close the gaps in achieving minimum standards of quality care, education and wellbeing of children, who constitute 34 per cent (pc) of the State’s total population. The State spends 16 per cent of its total expenditure and four per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) on children.
“The draft policy has been released inviting public feedback. It will be finalised soon after incorporating the suggestions if any,” said an official of the Women and Child Development Department.