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Child Rights in the Five Year Plans

CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Related Policies » Child Rights in the Five Year Plans

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The first five year plan (1951-56) identified health, nutrition and education as major areas of concern with regard to children. In 1953 the Central Social Welfare Board was set up to address the needs of children, women and persons with disabilities. The second five year plan (1956-61) aimed at strengthening the child welfare systems. Welfare projects were extended to become the Coordinated Welfare Extension Projects in 1958 and the Children's Act was passed in 1960. Internationally the Declaration of the Rights of the Child came into being on the 20th of November 1959. During the third five year plan (1961-66) the child was recognised as a human being with special needs and special efforts were made to coordinate between sectors to ensure these needs. Nutrition programmes were set up. And the Kothari Education Commission was set up in search out solutions to the lack of universal education for children.

The fourth five year plan (1969-74) focused on getting basic services to children. Two major child policies came into existence, The National Education policy in 1968 (as recommended by the Kothari Education Commission) and the National Policy for Children in 1974. The fourth five year plan also saw the establishment of the following schemes: The Special Nutrition Programme, Balwadi Nutrition Programme and Prophylaxis Scheme against Blindness due to Vitamin A Deficiency among Children. The first five year plan (1974-79) saw a shift from child welfare to child development where again coordination of services was the main agenda. A major accomplishment in 1975, which was a result of all plans so far, was the launching of the Integrated Child Development Scheme. 1975 also saw the start of the Scheme of Cr�ches/Day Care Centres for Children of Working and Ailing Mothers. Another major achievement was the setting up of the National Children's Fund in 1979.

The sixth five year plan (1980-85) was when for the first time planners took into consideration the needs of working children. Programmes were undertaken to improve the health, nutrition and educational status of working children. Health concerns of children also took priority in these plan years with the introduction of the National Health Policy and the formulation of the Indian National Code for Protection and Promotion of Breast Feeding. The seventh five year plan (1985-90) saw the establishment of the Department of Women and Child Development in the Ministry of Human Resource Development. In 1986 the Government of India repealed the Children's Act and passed the Juvenile Justice Act instead and updated the National Education Policy. In 1987 the National Child Labour Project was started in areas that saw a high number of child labourers. Lastly in 1990 the government set up CARA, to handle all concerns and issues regarding adoption. Internationally this period was witness to the first comprehensive convention for child rights the UNCRC.

During the eighth five year plan (1992-97) India ratified the UNCRC there by making it a legal binding document. There was continued work in areas of day care, education, health, etc. But this plan pays special focus also to the needs of the girl child. In 1992 the government adopted the National Plan of Action for the Girl Child. Some states also prepared similar documents and schemes for the girl child, for example, Haryana instituted the 'Apni Beti Apna Dhan' Scheme, Tamil Nadu initiated the 'Cradle Scheme', and Rajasthan introduced the 'Raj Lakshmi Scheme'. The ninth five year plan (1997-2002) continued to address the plight of the girl child, concentrating on addressing the problem of the declining sex-ration as well as female foeticide and infanticide. In the field of health the government introduced the Reproductive and Child Health programme (RCH). In the field of education the government launched Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2001-02. 2000 also saw the adoption of the new Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act.

The last five year plan, the tenth plan (2002-07) the approach has shifted to a right-based one, insuring the survival, development and protection of children. The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act was amended in 2003 to further address the problems of female foeticide and infanticide. Many other goals were set out such as reduction of Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) to 45 per 1000 live births by 2007 and reduction of Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) to 2 per 1000 live births by 2007. These goals were to be accomplished by expanding existing scheme such as ICDS, universal immunization, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, etc. Major accomplishments have been a constitutional amendment making the Right to education a fundamental right, the revision of the National Health Policy to take into consideration more recent health concerns like HIV/AIDS, the amendment of the JJ act, and the adoption of the Goa Children's Act of 2003. Child Rights in the Five Year Plans

The current plan, the eleventh five year plan (2007-12) clearly states "Development of the child is at the centre of the Eleventh Plan". According to the MWCD working group report Child Rights in the Five Year Plans the plan outlines its work according to the National Plan of Action for Children (NPAC) 2005. There are four key areas the plan address: ICDS, Early Childhood Education, Girl child and Child Protection. The plan calls for further expansions of the ICDS services and reiteration of major concerns about infrastructure, training of workers, quality of services, etc. Early childhood education needs a boost with regards to access, day care services, infrastructure, training, minimum standards and regulatory mechanisms, and revamping curriculum. With regard to Girl child the plan reiterates the goals set out in NPAC. Age specific and setting specific interventions are needed for girls. The eleventh plan recognizes the need for Child protection programmes and initiatives. It specially addresses the need of those children that have fallen out of the purview of previous interventions and hence fallen on difficult times. According to the MWCD report the eleventh plans idea of child protection is very limited and does not cover all commitments of NPAC.

An important change recommended by the MWCD which was not included in the previous five year plans is the introduction and adoption of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in the protection agenda of the XIth Plan.

To access the full five year plans please visit the Planning Commission website

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