Maharashtra is the second most populous state and the third most urbanised in the country. Mumbai is not only the state capital of Maharashtra but the country’s undisputed financial capital, though about 50 per cent of its residents live in slums. The state attracts thousands of migrants from across the country in search of work every year, is the wealthiest in terms of the annual gross domestic product.
The poorest 20 per cent of the children are twice as likely as the richest 20 per cent to be stunted by poor nutrition and to die before their fifth birthday. The Kelkar Committee surmised that the IMR of tribal areas in Maharashtra is 60-70% higher than the state average. The richest 20 per cent of the women are 1.2 times more likely than the poorest 20 per cent to have a skilled attendant present at delivery. Regardless of wealth, girls continue to be held back from schooling.
In the state, one in every ten children are born with low weight, and one in every three mothers of under two children record a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18.5, which increases the risk of low birth weight babies. Child survival indicators remain the last mile issue in tribal areas and urban slums.
Though the prevalence of child marriage in the state is lower than the national average and mostly occurs among girls, who are between 16 and 18 years. However, there are acute regional variations with 17 districts having higher child marriage prevalence than the state average.
Two districts, Thane and Nashik, have a high number of child workers. The vulnerability and exploitation of children performing in the media and entertainment industry that is concentrated in Mumbai are of major concern. As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) the state reported a 71.5 per cent increase in crimes against children from 2014 to 2015. The state is also a destination for children trafficked for labour and commercial sexual exploitation from other states of India as well as other countries.