He was delivering the inaugural lecture at a national workshop on ‘Human rights and development’

India is yet to acquire the basic structure for effective implementation of the right to education (RTE), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman K.G. Balakrishnan has said.

He was delivering the inaugural lecture at a national workshop on ‘Human rights and development’ organised by the Department of Economics, University College, here on Friday.

Mr. Balakrishnan said schools were found to be resisting the reservation of 25 per cent of seats for students from socially and economically backward communities.

Mr. Balakrishnan said India fared badly in basic human development indicators such as sanitation, health, and education despite a slew of welfare measures.

The NHRC, he said, had adopted 28 districts across the country to monitor the implementation of various welfare measures in the health, sanitation and education sectors.

The feedback from these districts revealed poor implementation of schemes such as NRHM (National Rural Health Mission), ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme), education programmes, and pension schemes.

Calling for demand-driven implementation of rights and welfare schemes, he said, “Unless people come forward to demand their rights, they will remain neglected. Schemes such as ICDS, PDS, and pension have been successfully implemented in places where people have come forward demanding their rights”

India, he said, fared badly in human development compared to Bangladesh, a country that was way behind in most social indicators such as sanitation and women’s literacy. “India is a major supplier of inexpensive medicines in the world market, yet our infant mortality rate is 60 per 1,000 while in Bangladesh, it is 40 per 1,000.”

He said welfare schemes fared badly in India because of the involvement of middlemen. Many of the schemes were not reaching the people. Overall development had failed to reach the village level.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the absence of literacy was primarily responsible for social exclusion.

The NHRC, he said, had embarked on a nationwide programme to create awareness of human rights and women’s education.

Mr. Balakrishnan said 34 per cent of the 1,10,000 complaints received by the commission last year were related to human rights violations by the police such as illegal detention and arrest.

C. Moly Marceline, Principal, University College, presided over the function.

V. Surendran Nair, Head, Department of Economics, and Shaji Varkey, Head, Department of Politics, University of Kerala, spoke.