A ‘Prarambh’ for children as Odisha government readies policy for them

Besides, it will ensure identity of a child through family/alternative care, birth registration and quality of life.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government is set to launch a dedicated policy for children called ‘Prarambh’ soon. The state cabinet presided by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday approved the policy document which will focus on their right to survival, protection, physical and mental health, and education to achieve their optimal development.

The policy aims to strengthen the state’s commitment to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by ensuring their rights and significantly improving their overall wellbeing. The policy is expected to bring a paradigm shift in the discourse and work related to children across the state, Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra said after the meeting.

The policy has seven focus areas, such as survival which includes health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and holistic development, protection of a child from abuse, exploitation, neglect, maltreatment, violence, child labour, child marriage, trafficking, drugs/substance abuse, online abuse and other hardships. Besides, it will ensure identity of a child through family/alternative care, birth registration and quality of life.

Special measures will also initiated for vulnerable children. Care will be taken to ensure dispensation of justice and legal provisions for children. All these will be implemented by children’s participation.
Mahapatra said the policy emphasizes the protection and wellbeing of children from adverse or exceptional circumstances. Children affected by climate induced natural disasters, orphaned, disabled, or with special needs, require additional protection, care and support from the state and society to lead a dignified life and to realise their full potential, he said.

A plan of action and major interventions required to implement the provisions of this policy will be initiated within a year of its notification. All departments and organizations working for children will develop the state action plan through a convergence approach.

The Women and Child Development department will be the nodal department for facilitating the process of convergence and coordination to bring synergy among all stakeholders involved in the process.
Mahapatra said desk reviews, field visits and a series of consultations with various stakeholders and experts provided insights for the formulation of this policy. Subsequently, in 2021, the policy was further reviewed in the context of children’s vulnerability during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

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The New Indian Express