In an attempt to provide a comprehensive understanding of the development-population linkages, this book takes forward the debates and policy questions raised by the National Population Policy 2000 and, in the process, analyses a wide range of issues — food security; climate change; women's empowerment; public health services; role of media and public action in population stabilisation; and so on. Does a large population slow down economic growth? What explains the persistence of adverse sex ratios in the country? Will rapid fertility decline solve the problem of income poverty and human deprivation? These and other pressing concerns are examined in this collection of 18 articles by people of eminence in related disciplines.

While identifying the past trends in population and projecting future challenges, the book rejects coercion and disincentives as means of achieving rapid population stabilisation. Instead, it calls for a humane approach, setting store by the credo: ‘take care of the people and the population will take care of itself.' As the renowned agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan puts it succinctly, in his insightful foreword, the steps taken to promote human resource development will determine whether India, ultimately, “reaps a demographic dividend or faces a demographic disaster.”

Handbook of Population and Development in India: Edited by A. K. Shiva Kumar, Pradeep Panda, Rajani R. Ved; Oxford University Press, YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 795.

The adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989 was the culmination of collective aspirations, struggle and advocacy of committed people across the globe. A treaty that encompasses all aspects and stages of a child's life — from the unborn to adulthood — the Convention enunciates the civil, economic, social, and cultural rights of children, rights that are legally enforceable. It has been ratified by 192 countries, which are obligated to uphold them, put in place necessary legal framework, and restructure their development policies and action plans in conformity with the objectives set out in the CRC. What has been the record of India in promoting children's rights since it ratified the Convention in 1992?

In this book, Chakraborty examines the issue from different angles — juvenile justice, family environment, sexual exploitation, education and so on — and highlights the inadequacies and shortcomings. Specifically, he points to the inadequacy of resource allocation and lack of political will and determination.

Human Rights for Children in India — Evaluating Policies and Public Actions: Sudip Chakraborty; Manak Publications Pvt. Ltd., B-7, Saraswati Complex, Subhash Chowk, Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi-110092. Rs. 1000.

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