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Mixed bag for Assam in child wellbeing index: report
MANASH PRATIM DUTTA
 GUWAHATI, Sept 9 - Assam fares very poorly in many aspects of child wellbeing, according to the ‘India Child Well-Being Report’ published by World Vision India and IFMR LEAD, a non-profit organisation. However, the State has done well in some aspects, the report adds.

In the report, the researchers have divided all the states and union territories of the country into four groups based on the performances related to various child development-related aspects.

According to the report, Assam remains in the third group in the matter of stunting growth of children, underweight rate of children, mental illness, institutional delivery of children, rate of children who completed class ten, basic reading of doing math capacity of children and access to improved sanitation facilities.

The State remains in the fourth group in case of budget allocation by the State government for child development, mortality rate of children below five years of age, immunisation of children, secondary dropout rate of students and facility of improved drinking water source.

The report stated that in case of juvenile crimes Assam was placed in the second category. Rate of suicide by people below 18 years of age was also found to be very high in the State. Again, in case of both houseless children and crime against children the State was placed in the first category. In case of prevalence of child labour it was bracketed in the second category.

Meanwhile, in case of sex ratio and registration of birth, Assam showed comparatively good results and found place in the first and second categories respectively.

The report further stated that in case of the overall child wellbeing index, Kerala topped the list, while Assam remained in the last category along with five other states, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

In case of healthy individual development children which includes both health and education aspects related to children of 0-18 years of age, Kerala was placed in the first category and Assam remained in the last category with four other states, Bihar, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.

However, in case of positive relationships of children with family and society, Assam found place in the first category along with five other states, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Chattisgarh and Manipur. In this criterion, Nagaland was the best performer.

“The research has brought to the fore compelling insights on child wellbeing in India. One of the primary objectives of this index is to garner attention to the under-researched theme of child wellbeing in India and inspire further academic and policy conversations on related issues. Some of the key indicators that need to be studied in the future include mobile usage, digital access, financial literacy, mental health and quality of relationships per se, between parents or peers and children,” Sharon Buteau, executive director, IFMR LEAD said in a statement.

The compiler and publisher of the report also stated that this report is a call for states to look at their respective scores on the dimensions of child wellbeing, and to prepare for priority areas of intervention with specific plans of action. The report also hopes to bring about policy-level changes, seek better budgetary allocations and initiate discussions with all stakeholders which can help in enhancing the quality of life of all children in the country.

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