Child-friendly villages need to be created across the country as it would help in a large way to strengthen the democracy and also lead to a condition of self governance, said Justice G.M. Akbar Ali, Madras High Court.
Addressing a meeting on the event of inauguration of what is claimed as the first model gram sabha for children in the State at Kappalur panchayat near Tirumangalam on Sunday, he explained that children gram sabha could complement well with local administration to make them prioritise on issues like children’s health and education which could help on a long term basis to support the growth of the nation.
Mr. Akbar Ali shared his experiences of attending a gram sabha in Rajasthan and stated how the children were influential in decreasing the school dropout ratio. He also opined that the children’s gram sabha would help increase literacy rate and also instil confidence and leadership qualities in children.
The model gram sabha was organised by the Federation of Children Movements for Right to Participation, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The significant objective was to advocate the bureaucracy and public on the importance of ensuring child participation in local governance.
Mamatha, Representative of Peoples Panchayat, Karnataka shared her experiences and said that model gram sabhas for children was established by the government way back in 2002 after quite a bit of struggle.
Prior to the gram sabha meeting a rally was held in the village in which children carried suggestion boxes and received a lot of complaints, which were later turned into demands based on the feasibility factor and were placed at the meeting.
The demands, included basic amenities for the village, participation rights of children in gram sabha meetings, educating parents about the ills of child labour, child marriage about female infanticide and many other social evils.
Jhansi Moorthy, Panchayat President, Kappalur, M.Uthra, president the Federation of Children Movements for Right to Participation, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and Arunraj State joint treasurer of the Federation also spoke at the meeting.