Government policies should address children’s issues: Experts


New Delhi : Government policies, especially in the fields of agriculture and environment, should address children’s issues, like the effect of poisonous gases and pesticide use on children, said experts here Tuesday.

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Speaking at the ‘Child Rights: In the National Interest’ conference here, Mira Shiva of Initiative for Health and Equity in Society (IHES), said: “Children get blind-spotted in government polices. The toxins of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy affected children massively. So much so that second generation children are still born there with deformities.”

“Then in Kasargode in Kerala, the aerial spraying of endosulfan for 20 years has affected generation after generation of children. People suffer from neurological disorders and children are born with deformities. Endosulfan is a persistent organic pollutant so it brings about a kind of pollution that is lethal but whose effects you can’t see directly,” she added.

The conference was organised by various child rights groups like India Alliance for Child Rights, Childline India Foundation, World Vision India and CRC Voluntary Working Group.

“As national planners are beginning to think of the 12th Five Year Plan, the initial working papers are again failing to recognise that investment in children and youth is not a kindness but imperative for genuine national progress,” a member of India Alliance for Child Rights said.

Pressing for immediate change in policies, Shiva added: “Different ministries are handling different things and in that bargain a lot of important issues pertaining to health and children get ignored.”

“Agriculture policies, environmental policies, mining rules and the likes should address children’s issues. What is equally important is that existing laws, whether they are environmental laws or labour, should be implemented,” she added.