Bengal lagging in enforcing laws against child abuse: Governor

Kolkata, Feb 25 (PTI) West Bengal is lagging behind therest of the country in enforcing laws against child abuse andrehabilitation of abused children, Governor M K Narayanan saidtoday.

''''Law enforcement and rehabilitation appear inadequateagainst child abuse and rehabilitation (of abused children).

West Bengal''s record is somewhat worse than other parts of thecountry,'''' Narayanan said while releasing the UNICEF''s ''2011State of the World''s Children'' report.

Pointing out that as per 2001 census, 12.6 millionchildren in the country were engaged in hazardous occupation,he said that India also had the largest number of childworkers who did not have access to quality education.

The country has the largest number of children under 25years of age, he said adding this posed several challenges,the most important being to train them for a gainfullivelihood.

Quoting National Family Health Survey 2005-06, UNICEF''schief of field office West Bengal Lori Calvo said 10 per centchildren aged 5-14 years in West Bengal were working as childlabourers, while 54 per cent of women from 20 to 24 years weremarried before 18 years of age. As many as 15 per cent girlswere already mothers or became pregnant with their firstchild.

Calvo said as per data provided by the National CrimeRecord Bureau, West Bengal contributed to 35 per cent ofsuicides in the country in the age group of 15-29 years.

According to the District Level Household SurveyReport-3, 98 per cent of adolescent girls in the state werereported to be anaemic and about 18 per cent reported to beseverly anaemic.

''''Factors such as early sexual debut, unsafe sexualpractices because of lack of information on STI/HIV and AIDSand low perception of risks make adolescents vulnerable to HIVinfection,'''' she said.

Gross Enrolment Ratio for girls aged 14-16 years stoodat only 37 per cent in the state, according to the SelectedEducational Statistics data, 2007 of the Minisry of HumanResources Development, Calvo said.

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