Renuka launches action plan for children's welfare

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New Delhi, Aug 21 (UNI) The Government today launched with much fanfare a joint action plan for the welfare of children that aims at reducing infant and maternal mortality rates significantly by 2012.

Launching the programme in conjunction with UNICEF here, Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said the Government was committed to protecting the rights of children, striving for the elimination of child labour and ensuring facilities for schooling and extend special care to the girl child.

The plan, which is to improve other indices related with development of children, will be implemented over a period of five years.

Though the total outlay for the WCD ministry had been increased by 60 per cent from 2006-07 to 2008-09, she said, there was need of convergence approach to tackle the various needs and concerns of children as their varied requirement could not be met by one single agency. Besides, conscience of society needed to be more positive and sensitive towards children's needs, she stressed.

Giving the highlights of the action plan, UNICEF country representative Marin Kulshof said UNICEF would spend about 700 million US dollars over the next five years in India under the programme.

The action plan will focus on the seven states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to accelerate progress in child survival and development.

It will also focus on improving the nutrition status of the mother and child, availability of clean and safe water, protection of children from violence, exploitation and child labour.

The programme will also ensure more children enrol and stay in school to complete elementary education. The advocacy and partnership will be an important component of the action plan to build a voice for children and their rights through civil society.

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