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Uttar Pradesh to create apex social safety net for children

By Kulsum Talha

LUCKNOW: The most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh, is poised to take the lead in the creation of an apex body for children that will exclusively handle policy interventions and monitor implementation of children related government programmes.

UNICEF has proposed to the state government the setting up of an integrated body under the chairmanship of the state chief minister to monitor goals for children. When the proposal finally gets a green signal, Uttar Pradesh will become the first state in the country to have an apex social safety net for children. This highest level nodal agency will exclusively exercise power to monitor child welfare programmes.

Today six different departments of the state government, including women & child welfare, health, education, labor, panchayati raj and rural development monitor the programmes separately.

The most populous state of India – Uttar Pradesh – has the lowest Human Development Index of 0.388; Kerala is 0.638, while the overall national index is 0.472. “Although these departments deliver results but, due to their multifarious functions, their ability to give priority to child welfare programmes is often hindered. Also, no single focal point exists to monitor progress for children in the state. That is why the urgent need for an apex structure for children. ” explained Dr. Nimal Hettiaratchy, State Representative of UNICEF, Uttar Pradesh.

According to R. S. Mathur, Policy Advisor, UNICEF, and ex-Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh, there is no denying the fact that UP needs this body more than any other state in the country.

India leads the top ten world economies in terms of growth and purchasing power but ranks 126th among 177 countries in Human Development: UNDP Report“UP has poor child indicators leading to a dismally low Human Development Index. It is 0.388 here against the national figure of 0.472. This is having an adverse impact on the National Development Indicators, pulling the country back. If India has to fulfill its dream of MDGs, UP needs to improve,” said Mathur, adding that only if UP shines can India shine fully.







Apex social safety net for children

1. India is among the top ten economies of the world in terms of growth and purchasing power parity. But it ranks 126th among 177 countries in terms of Human Development, as per the latest World Human Development Report of UNDP. One of the contributors to this situation is the state of Uttar Pradesh with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.388 against the National Average of 0.472 (National Human Development Report, Planning Commission, 2001). Uttar Pradesh, being the largest state of the country in terms of population has a huge impact on the National Development Indicators. If Uttar Pradesh achieves the level of HDI of States like Kerala (0.638), there is every possibility of India catapulting to among the first 50 countries in terms of Human Development.

2. The Planning Commission, while constructing a Composite Index for Human Development, gives weightage to indicators like IMR (Infant Mortality Rate), literacy, enrolment and formal education, and safe drinking water – all of which are directly related to child welfare programmes. An institution to monitor achievements in child welfare programmes would therefore have a huge impact on the composite Human Development Index.

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