South India is found to be the best place for children to live in as 4 of the 5 best performing states in India‘s first national child rights index, are from Southern region of the country. The Child Rights Index (CRI) published by NGO HAQ placed Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh among the top five best performing states in India with Maharashtra being only state from the west.
The detailed study finds that economic growth does not necessarily ensure child rights performance as it’s shown in the case of Kerala which ranks first in the national child rights but stands 9th in its GDP status while Maharashtra, which ranks first amongst the states in GDP, is ranked third in child rights. Moreover, the state is also ranked among the worst 5 states in sex ratio and second worst cohort at rank 20 in child marriage which clearly points out a severe lack of attention to children. Uttar Pradesh with the second highest GDP in the country, ranks18th in child rights and ranks 27th in provision of health care. Jharkhand is the only state whose economic status matches its child rights rank – both at 17.
Not so surprisingly, all the worst performing states are the north-eastern states – Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Sadly, of the five states that fall in the not so well performing category, three are once again north-eastern states. They are performing badly in almost all indicators. This is a clear indication that despite the promised attention to North-East and separate budget allocations, they have among the lowest GDP ranks, and children’s status in those states needs urgent attention.
And when it comes to health of children, the five worst performing states are Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, where tribals account for a significant portion of population in many of these states.
Maharashtra, although ranked third in child rights, has pathetically failed to address falling sex ratio and child marriage. As a matter of fact, all the five best performing states, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are not performing well in early childhood care and controlling child marriage. Kerala and Goa, the two best performing states in health, is found to be performing quite poorly in provision of health infrastructure. On the other hand, Himachal Pradesh, which is one of the five best states in healthcare, is ranked in the last five in HIV/AIDS intervention.
When it comes to education, Delhi put up a poor show. Although the stae is doing well in making education available to its children, it does not have enough teachers and hence ranks as one of the lowest in the pupil teacher ratio of 1:100.
The north-eastern states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura are ranked in the top five in provision for early childhood care; however, lag behind in their attention to preschool education for the 3-6 year old children.
While states such as Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Delhi plus the Union Territories of Chandigarh, and Puducherry have achieved 100 percent level of registration of births, Bihar and Jharkhand are still below the 50 percent mark.