India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies but human development has not kept pace with economic growth. The Country ranks 129 out of 189 countries in the 2016 Human Development Report.( Source: HDI Report 2018)
India also ranks 127 out of 155 countries in the 2017 global Gender Inequality Index.
Deeply entrenched caste-based and gender inequalities have further economically excluded millions, particularly those from rural areas. Children from rural areas, slums and urban poor families, scheduled castes, tribal communities and other disadvantaged populations suffer from multiple deprivations related to poverty, malnutrition, access to quality health services, child marriage, poor school attendance, low learning outcomes, lack of sanitation facilities, hygiene, and access to improved water.
Disparities are also seen in the provision of and access to basic services in rural and urban areas. Children from rural areas are more likely to die before completing age five than those living in urban areas. Children in states with high levels of deprivation and conflict are more vulnerable than those in states with stronger governance systems.
Over 65.5 million urban dwellers living in urban slums have poor housing conditions and limited access to services such as sanitation, schools and health clinics. The share of the child budget in the national budget, too, (3.29%- Union Budget 2019- 20) has never been over five per cent, and even this disproportionately in favour of education schemes.
Scheduled Tribes bear the highest burden of child stunting in India. Nearly 45 per cent of Scheduled Tribes in rural areas remain below the poverty line, compared to 25 per cent in all other groups.