India’s ranking goes up in childhood index’, discrimination against girls remains serious challenge

NEW DELHI: India finds space at 113 in Save the Children’s “End of Childhood Index 2018” which ranked 175 countries this year against indicators to determine the quality of childhood children have access to. Ranked at 116 last year, the improvement in India’s overall score by 14 points from 754 to 768 on a scale of 1000, is being attributed to reduced rate of child marriage. The study however, puts India in the category of countries characterised by poverty and discrimination against girls.However, the Index which is part of the report titled “The Many Faces of Exclusion” shows that under five mortality rate (deaths per 1000 live births) was 43 which is a cause of concern. Also child stunting (children aged 0-59 months) was 38.4% and rated as high.
On the child marriage issue the Index shows that adolescents currently married or in union (girls aged 15-19) was 15.2%. This was 21.1% in the 2017 index where India figured as 116 out of 172 countries ranked. It is significant to point that the child marriage data assessed does not include data on consensual unions.The Index this year ranked 175 countries with regards to where childhood is threatened as a result of poor health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labour, child marriage, early pregnancy and extreme violence.In terms of the global scenario the report states that more than half of all children globally – over 1.2 billion – are threatened by conflict, widespread poverty or discrimination against girls. Launched by the voluntary organisation to mark International Children’s Day on June 1, the report examines how these three key factors are robbing children of their childhoods around the world. “More than one billion children live in countries plagued by poverty; 240 million in countries affected by conflict and fragility; and more than 575 million girls live in countries where gender bias is a serious issue.