NEW DELHI: The Unicef’s State of the World’s Children report-2012, “Children in an Urban World”, has presented a grim picture of the reach of health services and social schemes to the urban poor who migrate to bigger cities in search of opportunities.
The report, which was released on Wednesday, pointed out that the majority of children will grow up in towns and cities rather than in rural areas. The report said that in India, cities are the settings for some of the greatest disparities in children’s health, education and opportunities.
There are approximately 50,000 slum areas in India, and 70 per cent of which are in five states -- Maharashtra, 35 per cent; Andhra Pradesh, 11 per cent; West Bengal, 10 per cent; and Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, 7 per cent each.
The estimated number of people living in slums in the country is 93 million, as per the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation.
The report said that Mumbai is one of the world’s richest cities, and home to the highest number of slum-dwellers.
Unicef India representative Karin Hulshof said, “A child born in a slum in urban India is as likely to die before her or his first birthday because of underweight or anaemic or marrying before her 18th birthday.” Shanta Sinha, Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), said that the Unicef report has brought to the centre stage the plights of the urban children. Maintaining that even small peasants are migrating to the cities, Sinha said that there could not be a centralised solution and it has to be decentralised.