We have one of the fastest growing economies in the world but the underlying story is one of increasing inequality. 32.7% of the population live on less than USD 1.25 per day and on the Human Development Index India ranks 135 out of 187 countries.Out of India’s population of 1.21 billion a quarter are illiterate and over 25% live below the poverty line.
Street and Working children are one of the most marginalised and vulnerable societal groups. There are conservatively estimated to be 4.37 million working children aged between 5-14 years old in India (UCW 2013).
In Delhi almost 25% of these children are addicted to substances such as drugs, tobacco, whitener and shoe polish. More than 50% of the boys have been beaten up as have over 30% of the girls. Fewer than 20% of Street and Working children in Delhi reported having any kind of identity documents barring them from many public services, such as education and healthcare.3 CHETNA carries out a wide range of work addressing these issues with the aim of creating a child caring society and system where the rights of street and working children are respected.
We have strong national child rights policies and laws, but a lack of implementation. This situation is a key reason why NGOs like CHETNA continue to be necessary to provide essential services, like Contact Points, in response to the direct needs of Street and Working children and to give them opportunities to advocate and improve the implementation of the vital laws that ensure their rights.