In India, childhood has been defined in the context of legal and constitutional provisioning, mainly for aberrations of childhood. It is thus a variable concept to suit the purpose and rationale of childhood in differing circumstances. Essentially they differ in defining the upper age-limit of childhood.
The children of today are the future of tomorrow; this powerful statement assumes a special significance in our context as children (0-14 years) comprise one-third of the total population in the country. Every child, on the provision of a conducive and an enabling environment, may blossom into an ever fragrant flower, to shine in all spheres of life. This reminds us of the onerous responsibility that we have to mould and shape their present conditions in the best possible way.
UNITED NATIONS: India is home to over 30% of almost 385 million children living in extreme poverty, the highest in South Asia, according to a new report by World Bank Group and UNICEF, `Ending Extreme Poverty: A Focus on Children.` It said children are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. It said children are more than twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty. In 2013, 19.5% of children in developing nations were living in households that survived on an average of USD 1.90 a day or less per person, compared to just 9.2% of adults. Globally, almost 385 million children are living in extreme poverty. There are 472 million children in India under the age of 18 years. This constitutes 39% of the total population in the country (Census 2011).
Orphans/ abandoned children: A child becomes an orphan if he or she does not have any parents. This could happen because of death or disappearance, abandonment or desertion, separation or loss of both parents. A foreign-born child is also an orphan if his or her sole or surviving parent is not able to take proper care of the child and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.
Street Children: Street children by definition are children who live on the streets without any adult care or supervision. They usually live and sleep on the streets because they do not have a home. They have only intermittent contact with parents or family (usually mother or sisters). They live most of the time with other street children in the city streets or are on the move.
Slum Children: Slum is a district of a city marked by poverty and inferior living conditions. Children in slum clusters live without a sense of security and stability. As their homes are mostly illegal they may face demolition by municipal authorities at any time. Families are then rehabilitated in remote places, severing them from social, economic and educational lifelines, so essential to their well being.
Sexual Abuse: This includes sexual, physical and emotional abuse. The degree of the abuse, when in the child`s life it occurred and its duration have varying levels of impact on the child. Sometimes children hide that they have been abused and may not reveal it until later. Abuse affects children differently and may cause emotional and behavioral problems that require the help of counseling and flexible parenting techniques to help the child heal.
Child Abuse: Child abuse is the physical or psychological mistreatment of a child by his or her parents (including adoptive parents), guardians, or other adults. While there are many different types and degrees of abuse, the one thing they all have in common is the failure to look after a child`s long-term interest.
Child Abuse can range from limited to intentional injury to long term damage that could impair the development potential of a child. Included in the definition are neglect (acts of omission) and physical, psychological, pre-sexual injury (an act of commission) by a parent or a caretaker.
=>There are 20 million street children in India.
=>Over 59 million children in India have no access to school.
=>One out of two children between the ages of 6 and 14 has no access to primary education.
=>Out of 27 million children born in India every year, 2 million do not survive to celebrate their first birthday.
=> About 60 million Indian children under the age of 6 live below the poverty line.
=> 500,000 children are forced into this commercial sex trade every year.
=> 1 out of every 3 girls does not live to see her 15th birthday.
=> Every sixth girl child’s death is due to gender discrimination, 3 lakh more girls than boys die every year.
=> 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.
=> 5.2 million HIV/ AIDS infected children
=> 31% of infants are born with low birth-weight
=> 7% of infants die before their 1st birthday
=> 46% of children under 5 are malnourished
=> Statistics reveal that India has 17 million child laborers -- the highest in the world.
=> Under the age group of 5- 14 years, 4.02 % of children engaged in economic activities.
=> Total of 6.75% children at work, of which 4.73% are boys and 8.93% are girls
=> Sex Ratio under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
=> Infant mortality rate: 57.92
=> Children Underweight Rate: 18%
=> Life expectancy at birth > Male: 63.9 years
=> Life expectancy at birth, years > Females: 63