Bhopal: Thirty five leaders of various political parties committed to take up children's issues in their manifestos for the upcoming civic body elections.
It was part of a meeting organised by Child Rights Observatory and UNICEF in the city on Thursday. The political parties included BJP, Indian National Congress, CPI, CPIM, AAP, and AITUC.
Nirmala Buch, President Child Rights Observatory, urged them to include children's issues in their election manifestos for upcoming civic body elections. "It is important that we include, invest in children today and especially with the challenge of Covid-19, we need to be more responsive to their rights and need to respect them," she said.
Uma Shankar Gupta, who is heading the election manifesto committee of BJP, said the party has always given importance to children's issues and will include points from the agenda for children, which was shared at the meeting. "There is a challenge as departments control the budget, however; municipalities and panchayats can create an enabling environment for children," he added.
Hiralal Alawa, member of Legislative assembly from Indian National Congress, suggested that they need to dedicate one day for children in the State assembly and have mechanisms for monitoring the child rights. He said he can look forward to engaging with elected representatives after elections as to how much progress has been made in their commitments towards these rights.
Bhagwandas Sabnani from BJP spoke about challenges like violence, abuse, child labour and asked political parties to include them in their manifestos for coming elections.
Margaret Gwada, UNICEF Madhya Pradesh chief, said it is important that leaders make children's issues a priority in election manifestos. She emphasised on increase in budgetary allocation for children, to include strategies to end violence, child marriage, facilitate and sustain 100 % open defecation free environment for children, advocate for uptake of Covid-19 vaccination, and appropriate behaviour.
“We also need to address the challenges of malnutrition among children," Gwada said.