BHOPAL: Leaders from across political parties have committed to take up issues concerning children in their manifestos, especially for the upcoming municipal and panchayat body elections in Madhya Pradesh.
Leaders from the BJP, Congress, CPI and AAP committed to the cause during an event organized by the Child Rights Observatory Madhya Pradesh (CROMP) and UNICEF on Thursday.
During the meeting, CROMP president Nirmala Buch urged leaders to include children's issues in their election manifestos for the upcoming civic polls.
"It is important that we include, invest in children, and especially with the challenge of COVID-19, we need to be more responsive to their rights and respect them," she said.
UNICEF Madhya Pradesh chief Margaret Gwada emphasised including an increased budgetary allocation for children, strategies to end violence against children, and child marriage in poll manifestos.
There is also a need to address the learning crisis, as the state prepares to reopen schools, she said.
Gwada said the parties must also include a plan to facilitate and sustain 100 percent open defecation-free environment for children, advocate for the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 appropriate behaviors in their manifestos.
Former BJP minister Uma Shankar Gupta, who is heading the election manifesto committee of the saffron party said, "The BJP has always given importance to children's issues. We will include points from the agenda for children that was shared at the meet."
While there is a challenge as departments control the budget, municipalities and panchayats can create an enabling environment for children, he said.
Congress MLA Dr Hira Lal Alawa suggested that one day should be dedicated for children in the state Assembly and the state needs to have mechanisms to monitor child rights.