“With Delhi having a malnutrition rate of 47 per cent among the urban poor and 35 per cent in the city, the rate of malnutrition is far worse than even sub-Sahara,” stated experts at a consultation on “Declining quality of life of the young child in Delhi' organised by non-government organisation Delhi Forces in the Capital earlier this week.

The consultation follows a Jan Sunvai, a collaborative effort of Delhi Forces and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Speaking on behalf of the five-member jury of the Jan Sunwai, Dr. Vandana Prasad said they were shocked at the plight of people residing in the three bastis in Delhi -- Kirby Place, Dwarka and Jhareda.

“There is a gross denial of basic rights and these ranges from lack of electricity and water supply in the permanent settlements, denial of payment of minimum wages and children's rights to survival, protection and development. Also none of the persons here had ration cards, only one person had a below poverty line card and there are no anganwadi centres at these places,” Dr. Prasad said.

At the Jan Sunvai, an independent jury of eminent persons hears complaints of women from urban poor settlements of South-West District of Delhi. The jury comprised people from various sectors including non-government organisations, media and the government.

Chairing the jury Mr. Amod Kanth said: “Out of the several lakh population that resides in the slum nearly 50 per cent include children. It is indeed a matter of great shame that the needs of such a large segment of neglected and deprived section of the population are not being addressed.''

The Jan Sunvai also released two studies: “Situational analysis of young child in Delhi: A citizen's report” and a survey conducted by Delhi Forces in 21 bastis with a sample of 4,600 households.

Sharing the findings of the jury, Dr. Vandana Prasad said: “ The Government is violating the Supreme Court orders by not providing anganwadis on a priority basis for communities that are demanding it within the stipulated period of three months. The lack of crèches on worksites is a direct infringement of the obligations the government is accountable for under the Construction Worker's Act, 1996. The jury also found that discriminatory practices relating to access, quality and affordability of health care are rampant across the three bastis. Children living with disability are often denied admission to schools.”

In the light of all these violations, the jury recommended that in every slum, crèche and anganwadi centres must be opened with immediate effect, any authority that does not comply with the Supreme Court orders on opening anganwadi centres on the demand of the community must be duly punished, children affected by disability must be reached out and pro-active measures taken to address their issues including right to education in mainstream schools.

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