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PARLIAMENT WATCH
Budget Session and Winter Session 2014
BACKGROUND
Children are almost 39 per cent of India’s population...
2
I. BRIEF OVERVIEW
Our Parliamentarians asked 19,590 questions during the two sessions out of which only 757 were related...
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• During the Budget session, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Parlia-
ment de...
4
Box 1: Amendment in Juvenile Justice Act
[Ref. RSUSQ 2436, 31.07.2014]
Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya asked-
(a) the action t...
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III. HOW INTERESTED ARE OUR MPs IN CHILDREN’S ISSUES?
Over the last few years that HAQ has been analyzing Parliamentary ...
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The issues related to Development of children received
more attention in Rajya Sabha especially in the Budget
Session. T...
7
8
ABOUT US
HAQ: Centre for Child Rights works towards the recognition, promotion and protection of rights of all children....
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Parliament in Budget, Budget Session and Winter Session 2014

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Children are almost 39 per cent of India’s population. Every year, an estimated 26 million children are born in India1. Th ey are all citizens of this country and their rights have to be recognized and realised. Children are important because they are Citizens of Today and Voters of Tomorrow. All elected representatives represent them too. All children need political, social and economic commitment. As adults in the making, this is the time to determine their and the country’s future.
Every year, during the Budget, Monsoon and Winter sessions, the elected representatives in Parliament discuss, debate, deliberate and make decisions on behalf of the 1.2 billion citizens of India which includes children. But how eff ectively do they represent the interests of children in the country?

HAQ: Center for Child Rights
B1/2, Ground Floor,
Malviya Nagar
New Delhi - 110017
Tel: +91-26677412,26673599
Fax: +91-26674688
Website: www.haqcrc.org
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HaqCentreForChildRights

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Parliament in Budget, Budget Session and Winter Session 2014

  1. 1. 1 PARLIAMENT WATCH Budget Session and Winter Session 2014 BACKGROUND Children are almost 39 per cent of India’s population. Every year, an estimated 26 million children are born in India1 . They are all citizens of this country and their rights have to be recognized and realised. Chil- dren are important because they are Citizens of Today and Voters of Tomorrow. All elected representatives represent them too. All children need political, social and economic commitment. As adults in the making, this is the time to determine their and the country’s future. Every year, during the Budget, Monsoon and Winter sessions, the elected representatives in Parliament dis- cuss, debate, deliberate and make decisions on behalf of the 1.2 billion citizens of India which includes children. But how effectively do they represent the interests of children in the country? Parliamentary questions and debates have, for a long time, proved beneficial and a time- tested strategy to understand the nature of political and policy dis- course within these platforms, identifying both, the key issues being debated as well as the representatives with interest in specific issues. Over the years, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights has been analyzing the child focused questions raised 1 Census 2011 in the Parliament and has established itself as a key resource in India on this since 2003. HAQ’s analysis of child related questions not only provides a glimpse of the time that our honourable members, who also represent children, spend on children related issues. In the year 2014, only two sessions of the Parliament- Budget Session and Winter Session were held due to the General Assembly elections. The Budget session marked the first session of the newly elected Govern- ment. HAQ’s analysis of the Parliamentary questions focused on - How many and how frequently are chil- dren’s issues raised in Parliament? And what are the issues related to children that concern our Member of Parliament (MP)? For purposes of convenience and in harmony with HAQ’s methodology for the children’s budget analy- sis2 it undertakes, the questions have been categorized into health, development, education (elementary as well as secondary) and protection (covering crimes against and exploitation of children as well as other juvenile justice issues such as offences by children). 2 HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, Budget for Children http://www.haqcrc.org/budget-children
  2. 2. 2 I. BRIEF OVERVIEW Our Parliamentarians asked 19,590 questions during the two sessions out of which only 757 were related to chil- dren. This amounts to a mere 3.8% of the total questions that were raised. During the Budget Session, in all 399 questions were raised in parliament (both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) on children while 358 questions were raised during the Winter session of 2014. (See Table 1)3 The Budget Session of 2014 held between July 7th, 2014 to August 14th, 2014 happened to be one of the most productive session in recent years with Lok Sabha working for 104% and Rajya Sabha for 106% of the time.4 On most days, both houses sat late to discuss the issues that required immediate attention. In these discussions, atrocities against children such as rape, child marriage, child labour, female foeticide and declining sex ratio were flagged. Table 1: Child Focused Questions in Budget & Winter Session 2014 House Budget Session Winter Session Starred + Unstarred Children Related Starred + Unstarred Children Related Lok Sabha 5830 162 (2.7%) 5433 93 (1.7%) Rajya Sabha 4477 237 (5.2%) 3850 265 (6.8%) TOTAL 10307 399 (3.8%) 9283 358 (3.8%) The Winter Session was held from November 24th, 2014 to December 23rd, 2014 and during these days Lok Sabha worked for 98% of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 59%.5 II. KEY FINDINGS • Only about 4% of the total questions raised in Parliament were related to children’s issues in 2014 • 66 % of all the child related questions in the year (over two sessions) was raised by MPs in the Rajya Sabha (59 % in the Budget Session and 74% in the Winter Session). • Of the four sectors- Protection, Development, Education and Health, the maximum questions (48%) were related to Education and the least questions were related to Development • Of the 113 questions raised on Health in both, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the issues covered were malnourishment, under-nourishment, infant mortality, health care schemes for adolescents, immunization, poor healthcare facilities in rural India • The issue of sanitation facilities in schools/available to children was raised by some of the MPs in the light of diseases such as stunting affecting children without proper access to sanitation facilities 3 This analysis is based on the questions raised in the three sessions of Parliament, 2014. Information for the analysis has been obtained from: website www.parliamentofindia.nic.in 4 How Parliament functioned in the Budget Session 2014, Vital Stats, PRS Legislative Research, http://www.prsindia.org/ parliamenttrack/vital-stats/how-parliament-functioned-in-the-budget-session-2014-3368/ 5 Plan vs Performance, PRS Legislative Research, http://www.prsindia.org/parliamenttrack/parliament-updates/plan-vs-performance- winter-session-2014-nov-24-to-dec-23-3508/ Share of Child Related Questions 3.8% Total Questions Raised 96.2% FIG.1 CHILD RELATED QUESTIONS RAISED IN PARLIAMENT 2014
  3. 3. 3 • During the Budget session, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Parlia- ment despite not being listed in the Agenda • The MPs raised only 5 questions regarding the Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014 in both the Budget session and the Winter session • Within the protection sector the issues covered were crimes against children, abuse of children, child marriage- based on UNICEF report of India having the third highest number of Child brides, impact of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 etc, child labour and child trafficking- organised child trafficking rackets from north-east, children trafficked from Jharkhand etc. • Issues within the education sector related to quality of education, mid-day meals and implementation of the Right to Education Act and inclusion In view of the ongoing discussions, several questions were raised regarding juvenile justice. However the questions reflect that they are based on public opinion and false reporting by media rather than exact research and facts. For example, a Rajya Sabha MP during the Budget session sought to know whether the existing JJ Act would be amend- ed in light of the sharp increase in serious crimes committed by juveniles as a result of the lenient provisions in the existing Act. (See Box 1) This statement of a ‘sharp increase in serious crimes by juveniles’ is an exaggeration as the NCRB data estimates that the share of juvenile crimes was 1.1 % in 2011 thereafter marginally increasing to 1.2 % in 2012 and remained static at 1.2% in 20136 . This has been reiterated by the Parliamentary Standing committee The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 in its report7 : - “.…it is evident that juvenile crime is a miniscule proportion of total crime committed and that the same is not significantly increasing. Such small numbers can most easily be dealt with under the juvenile justice system with appropriate infrastructure and human resources. The … data indicates that there is no basis to conclude that the pattern of juvenile crime in relation to overall pattern of crime in the country has altered in any significant manner.” [Para 3.8]. - “ it is only natural that the highest age-group will contribute the largest to the total of crime committed by juveniles. The objective analysis of the data of the National Crime Records Bureau placed before the Commit- tee makes it abundantly clear that the percentage of juvenile crimes in India i.e 1.2 per cent of the total child population of the country is quite low”. [Para 3.15] - “…increased reporting of crime against children in the specific age-group should not necessarily lead to assump- tion of increased conviction of juvenile in the crime”. [Para 3.13]. 6 Crime in India 2013 Compendium, Chapter 10, Juveniles in conflict with Law, National Crime Records Bureau, http://ncrb.nic.in/ CD-CII2013/compendium%202013.pdf 7 Two Hundred Sixty-Fourth Report of the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development on The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, FIG 2: CHILDREN RELATED QUESTIONS RAISED IN PARLIAMENT -2014 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 Protection Development Education Health Total Questions Raised in Parliament 2014 Budget Session Questions Raised in Parliament 2014 Winter Session
  4. 4. 4 Box 1: Amendment in Juvenile Justice Act [Ref. RSUSQ 2436, 31.07.2014] Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya asked- (a) the action taken as on date for necessary amendment in Juvenile Justice Act to award severe punishment for teenagers who are involved in serious criminal activities, as there is sharp increase in serious crimes among teenagers due to lenient provisions in existing juvenile act; (b) whether Hon’ble Supreme Court has advised Government in this regard; and (c) if so, what further action has been taken in this regard? The Minster for Women and Child Development, Ms. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi answered- (a) In order to address issue of severe punishment for children above the age of 16 who have committed heinous offences, special provisions have been included in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014. A draft Cabinet Note for amendment of existing provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has been sent to all concerned Ministries/Departments for inter- ministerial consultations. (b) & (c) No, Madam. Does not arise. Box 2: Juvenile Justice Act [Ref. LSUSQ 1251, 18.07.2014] Ms. Shobha Karandlaje (BJP), Mr. Jose K. Mani (Kerala Congress), Shri Anto Antony (INC), Ms. Mausam Noor (INC), Mr. Nalin Kumar Kateel (BJP), Mr. Prathap Simha (BJP) asked- (a) the number of Child Welfare Committees constituted under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 across the country, State/UT-wise; (b) Whether the government proposes to repeal and re-enact the Juvenile Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and (c) Whether the majority of the stakeholders have sought amendments in the existing Act instead of repealing it (d) if so, the details thereof along with the reaction of the Government thereto; and (e) whether the Government has reconstituted/proposes to reconstitute the Juvenile Justice Board for re-enacting/re- pealing the said Act, if so, the details thereof? The Minster for Women and Child Development, Ms. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi answered- (a) The State/UT-wise number of Child Welfare Committees constituted under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 across the country is at Annexure-I (b) Yes, Madam. During the implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 several issues had arisen such as increasing incidents of abuse of children in institutions, families and communities; inadequate facilities, quality of care and rehabilitation measures in Homes; delays in various processes under the Act, such as decisions by Child Welfare Committees (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) leading to high pendency of cases; disruption of adoption and delays in adoption due to faulty and incomplete processing; lack of clarity regarding roles, responsibilities and accountability of CWC and JJB; to address the heinous offences committed by children in the age group of 16 to 18 years; and inadequate provisions to counter offences against children such as corporal punishment, sale of children for adoption purposes, ragging etc. To address gaps in the implementation of the Act, the Ministry conducted consulta- tions to amend the Act to make it more effective. An amended Bill was thereafter drafted and was sent to the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law & Justice for vetting. The Legislative Department suggested that since the number of amendments proposed in the existing Act were large in number, the existing Act should be repealed instead of being amended. (c) & (d): No, Madam. Some stakeholders have suggested for amendments in the existing Act instead of repealing it. However, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has decided to repeal and re-enact the existing Ju- venile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 on the advice of Legislative Department, Ministry of Law & Justice.
  5. 5. 5 III. HOW INTERESTED ARE OUR MPs IN CHILDREN’S ISSUES? Over the last few years that HAQ has been analyzing Parliamentary questions, the percentage share of children focussed questions has never gone over 4.47% (2008) which was when the winter session had not taken place. This year too, there was no Monsoon session as a result of which the share of child focused questions has gone up to 3.86% as compared to 3.50% in 2012. 8 Table 2: Child-Focused Questions in Parliament 2003- 20148 Year Budget Monsoon Winter Percentage of child- focused questions in the year Total Child Total Child Total Child No. % No. % No. % 2003 13602 401 2.95 8246 235 2.84 6379 207 3.2 3.00 2004 7326 232 3.16 NA NA 6929 213 3.07 3.12 2005 14913 423 2.84 8753 202 2.31 9054 177 1.95 2.45 2006 10182 270 2.65 7787 240 3.08 7925 141 1.78 2.51 2007 11882 471 4.00 7462 280 3.75 6113 185 3.02 3.67 2008 10856 441 4.06 6423 331 5.15 NA NA 4.47 2010 13528 355 2.62 10057 276 2.74 10420 244 2.34 2.57 2012 14025 585 4.17 8499 253 2.97 9153 271 2.96 3.50 2014 10307 399 3.87 NA NA 9283 358 3.85 3.86 As table 2 shows, our Members of Parliament have shown very little interest in children’s issues in the past as well. It is unfortunate that among all the other issues that feature in the discussions and debates in the Parliament, chil- dren’s issues have never even hit 5% in all these years. IV. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT CONCERN OUR MPs? HAQ has always believed that Parliamentary questions are one of several tools that Parliamentarians have been using to represent their interests. This helps us to gauge their interests especially related to children and their concerns. The following Tables (Table 3.2 and Table 3.3) show a break-up of the sector-wise questions that have been raised by our honourable Parliamentarians in the two sessions held in 2014. As always, Education sector has received the maximum attention from our Parliamentarians with them raising dif- ferent concerns such as dropout ratio of girl children, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan related issues, learning outcome of children, mid-day meal served in schools, quality education in Madarsa, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, imple- mentation of Right to Education Act as well as other issues. 8 Source – HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, Says a Child….. Who speaks for my Rights? Parliament in 2008: Budget & Monsoon Sessions (for year 2003- 2008) and updated for year 2010, 2012& 2014 Table. 3.2: Questions Raised in Lok Sabha Sector Budget Session Winter Session Protection 38 (23%) 30 (32%) Development 25 (15%) 11 (12%) Education 81 (50%) 34 (36%) Health 18 (11%) 18 (19.4%) Total 162 93 Table 3.3: Questions Raised in Rajya Sabha Sector Budget Session Winter Session Protection 66 (28%) 73 (27.5%) Development 24 (10%) 17 (6.4%) Education 110 (46.4%) 135 (51%) Health 37 (15.6%) 40 (15 %) Total 237 265
  6. 6. 6 The issues related to Development of children received more attention in Rajya Sabha especially in the Budget Session. The issues that the Parliamentarians took up were about some of the schemes such as Integrated Child Development Scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Adolescent Girls and related issues such as function- ing of Anganwadi Centres, Early Childhood Care and Development among others. It is important to mention that despite the Mental Health Care Bill 2013 being introduced in Parliament in 2013, our MPs did not raise more than two ques- tions related to the mental health care available for children in the country. One third of the population of India is children below the age of 18 years. They too are citizens of this country. Even though they do not vote, they have all rights as equal citizens of the country. The attention that children’s issues get as we have seen above, is so less that they do not seem to figure on the Parliamentarians minds. But children are the future voters. Our Honour- able Parliamentarians must listen to them now to build a better and stronger India that respects its children.
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  8. 8. 8 ABOUT US HAQ: Centre for Child Rights works towards the recognition, promotion and protection of rights of all children. It aims to look at the child in an integrated manner within the framework of the Constitution of India, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which India ratified in 1992, and contribute to the building of an environ- ment where every child’s rights are recognised and promoted without discrimination. At HAQ we believe that child rights and children’s concerns have to be mainstreamed into all developmental planning and action, and must also become a core developmental indicator. To carry forward its mandate HAQ undertakes research and documentation. It is actively engaged in public educa- tion and advocacy on children’s rights. It also seeks to serve as a resource and support base for individuals and groups dealing with children at every level. It not only provides information and referral service but also training and capac- ity building of all those working with children or on issues concerning them, and the children themselves. Over the last 13 years HAQ has been working on areas of children and governance, violence and abuse of children, child trafficking and juvenile justice. HAQ provides legal support to children in need, particularly those who are victims of abuse or are in conflict with law. HAQ: Centre for Child Rights is pleased to place this analysis before the readers and looks forward to receiving feedback and comments at info@haqcrc.org or on our Facebook page. Reach Us: HAQ: Centre for Child Rights B-1/2, Ground Floor, Malviya Nagar New Delhi - 110017 Tel: +91-26677412, 26673599 Fax: +91-26674688 Website: www.haqcrc.org Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/HaqCentreForChildRights

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