New Delhi, India has improved its ranking in the world childhood index but stays at a poor 113th position — up from 116 in 2017 — in the list of 175 countries indexed by global child rights group, Save the Children.
The report, titled “End of Childhood”, released on Thursday commends India’s achievements in reducing the rate of child marriages which it said was a major factor contributing to an improved score in the index.
However, it said nutrition, infant mortality and child labour remained issues of grave concern in the country where under five child mortality is 43 per 1,000 live births for 2016, even though Census of India had measured it to be 39 per 1,000 live births in the same year.
Another challenge the report mentioned is that of adolescent pregnancy. In India, the number of births per 1000 girls aged 15-19 is 23.3 per cent, which means one out of four girls are more likely to give birth before reaching 20.
“We are glad to see the progress India has made on one of the indicators, through a decline in child marriage. However, 30 per cent of girls in India still get married before the age of 18.
“Many children in the country still start their lives disadvantaged just by virtue of being a girl or because they are poor. Early marriage, child labour and malnutrition are just some of the ways in which children are robbed of their childhood,” said Bidisha Pillai, CEO, Save the Children, India.