New Delhi: The cabinet Thursday cleared the national policy for children that aims to give them a life to live, development, education and protection.
The policy that was cleared by the union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recognises that every person below the age of eighteen years has a right to survival, education and development.
"The union cabinet today gave its approval to the National Policy for Children, 2012," said a statement issued after the meeting.
"The policy reaffirms the government`s commitment to the realisation of the rights of all children in the country. It recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and that childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own, and a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for the harmonious development and protection of children," it added.
"The policy lays down the guiding principles that must be respected by national, state and local governments in their actions and initiatives affecting children," it added.
The policy envisages the right of every child to life, survival, development, education, protection and participation; equal rights for all children without discrimination; the best interest of the child as a primary concern in all actions and decisions affecting children; and family environment as the most conducive for all-round development of children.
"The policy has identified survival, health, nutrition, education, development, protection and participation as the undeniable rights of every child, and has also declared these as key priority areas," it said.
As children`s needs are multi-sectoral, interconnected and require collective action, the policy aims at purposeful convergence and strong coordination across different sectors and levels of governance; active engagement and partnerships with all stakeholders; setting up of a comprehensive and reliable knowledge base; provision of adequate resources; and sensitization and capacity development of all those who work for and with children.
The cabinet said that a national plan of action will now be developed to give effect to the policy.
A national coordination and action Group (NCAG) will be constituted to monitor the progress of implementation.
"Similar plans and coordination and action groups will be constituted at the state and district levels," the statement added.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ensure that the principles of the policy are respected in all sectors at all levels.
There is a provision for reviewing the policy every five years.
The ministry of women and child development will oversee and coordinate the implementation of the policy and will lead the review process.