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Tamil Nadu releases state policy to ensure child rights

The government said The Tamil Nadu State Policy for Children aims “to create a bright future for its children, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” for them.

The Tamil Nadu government Saturday released a policy specifically aimed at ensuring the well-being of children across a range of indices such as health, nutrition, and access to schooling.

The government said The Tamil Nadu State Policy for Children aims “to create a bright future for its children, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” for them.

“Even though Tamil Nadu fares better on many of the indices compared to the national average, the following are some issues that are preventable and needs the attention of the Government of Tamil Nadu: malnutrition, anaemia, infant mortality rate, under 5 mortality rate, child sex ratio, full immunization, body mass index, gross enrolment ratio at high and higher secondary level, open defecation, etc,” said the document.

The policy document was released by Chief Minister M K Stalin at a function held at the Secretariat, said a statement. The policy for children is intended to set benchmarks on all indicators on a par with international standards.

The document formulates guiding principles based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), 1989, National Policy for Children, 2013, the National Plan of Action 2016 and the UN document ‘Transforming our world, The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

The policy will focus on key health interventions and aspects such as investing in the first 1,000 days of children; addressing determinants of foeticide, child mortality and morbidity; taking measures to help people take informed decisions on birth; strengthening the public health system; and ensuring nutrition, safe institutional deliveries, and childcare access.

The policy also contains multiple measures on providing learning access and removing barriers to education such as gender and social exclusion, child marriage, child labour, gender and social exclusion.

Legacy of social welfare investment

Known for pioneering the mid-day meal scheme — which was later picked up by other states in the past four decades — Tamil Nadu also has the lowest rates of infant and neonatal mortalities and prevalence of stunting. Its primary school enrolment rate is also among the highest in India.The latest policy drafted for children is in line with the state’s track record of investing in social welfare systems.

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