"KHUSHI" is an AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, launched by Vedanta Resources plc, with a focus to sensitize people towards care for the underprivileged and deprived children – their Nutrition – Education – Health and overall development. Join Khushi on facebook at and send motivational stories at . LET US MAKE INDIA A CHILD MALNOURISHED FREE NATION..


Hindustan Zinc improving academic opportunities of these specially abled children by distributing Android Smartphones to educate & learn…

Hindustan Zinc under its unique initiative  - “Jeevan Tarang”, on the occasion of World Disability Day distributed Android Smart Phones to blind students of Pragya Chakshu School, Udaipur and Badhir Baal Kalyan Vikas Samiti, Bhilwara on 4th December, 2017 with an objective of enhancing academic opportunities for these children and mainstreaming them into the society.

These Android Smart phones will enable the visually impaired students to ‘Read & Write’ using Accessibility Features on the device. These phones will allow these students to access their textbooks in DAISY format from the world’s largest Online Library for the Print Disabled – ‘Bookshare’. This will bring these students at par with other students by allowing them to comprehend, read and prepare their academic content for better understanding hence making them competitive & ready for any exam. These Accessible devices will also allow the students to access the power of the internet and also gain worldly knowledge. They will also be able to enjoy games specially designed for Blind users on their phones.

The report says, India is home to the world's largest number of blind people. Out of 37 million people across the globe who are blind, over 15 million are from India. It is also known that quality education is an absolute necessity in order to succeed and progress in this knowledge driven world. Most of the current educational curriculum is oriented towards the use of the eyesight thus poses paramount challenges to the blind and visually impaired students.

Many organizations are working consciously and tirelessly to ensure these children get their due attention. Through Jeevan Tarang, Hindustan Zinc has provided these Android phones to the students from Class 1st – Class 5th of Pragya Chakshu School, Udaipur and to all the students of Badhir Baal Kalyan Vikas Samiti, Bhilwara accessing them the basic human right to educate & learn, a critical step on the path to economic, educational, and social development. Hindustan Zinc has partnered with experts to build capacities of these institutions and under this initiative Mr. Nitin Patel has been appointed in both these schools as a trainer to train these students in these advanced gadgets.

The Chief Guest of the event, Amitabh Gupta – CFO, HZL expressed his happiness to see the passion of these students to learn and climb up the ladder of success. He emphasized that through Jeevan Tarang, Hindustan Zinc strives to provide better opportunities to these students to grow and learn.

Pavan Kaushik – Head Corporate Communication said “There is a need to understand and up-bring these children with all love and care. Jeevan Tarang is an initiative to ensure that every single ability & disability gets the same opportunities and recognition thus ensuring the development of both social & cognitive skills.”

‘Jeevan Tarang’ endeavours to support people with disabilities, with a focus to identify needs of deaf-mute, visually impaired and children with brain damages. Around 500 beneficiaries have been identified from HZL’s operational areas; Kayad Mine, Rampura Agucha Mine, Chanderiya Smelting Complex and Udaipur. 


By Yasmin Ali Haque, Diego Palacios, Rebecca Tavares
Times of India I October 11, 2017
Today is International Day of the Girl Child, a good day to celebrate the progress India has made in advancing the rights of half its children. Concerted efforts over the last decades are bringing results. According to the National Family and Health Survey (2015-16), teenage pregnancy has halved in the last 10 years and the percentage of girls married as children has decreased from 47% to 27%.
More girls are going to school than ever before and more of these schools now have girls’ toilets and menstrual hygiene management facilities. Girls are being increasingly celebrated by media as adventurous, ambitious and determined. Advertisements today include women and girls on motorbikes, in sports fields and in executive boardrooms.
The Indian Constitution provides a powerful mandate for human rights in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties and specific provisions for affirmative action. The government has instituted laws and policies protecting the rights of girls and women, including a ban on dowry, pre-birth sex determination and child marriage. State schemes and programmes provide bicycles, hostels, life skills and stipends.

Nationally, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao directly tackles pre-birth sex-determination and along with Sabla and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana supports the empowerment of girls. “One stop shop” centres for survivors of violence against women have been set up and are being utilised. Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram and Janani Suraksha Yojana support pregnant women, new mothers and infants.
India is also home to robust social movements and organisations for gender equality and women’s rights. Few of us can forget the months after December 2012 when one of the largest protests on violence against women and girls resulted in the Indian Parliament amending within three months Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code. This now includes largely progressive elements on preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. Stories and images of girls and boys fighting gender based discrimination and violence fill newspapers every day in every language.
These efforts are critical. Girls in India lag behind boys in almost every indicator. They are less likely to be born, less likely to be taken to doctors when they are sick, less likely to go to private school and less likely to graduate from secondary school and university.
Indian girls are more likely to be anaemic than Indian boys but also fare worse than the global average for anaemia. 167 out of 1,00,000 Indian girls and women die giving birth, compared to a developed country average of 14. Indian girls are more likely to be married as children than boys, more likely to be sexually abused and trafficked.
When they grow up, Indian women are far more likely to experience violence in the home and outside it, usually from known perpetrators. Indian women have the 11th lowest rate of workforce participation in the world (27% versus a global 50%) and India is in the lowest ranked group of countries for gender equality in the 2016 Human Development Report.
This is sobering. Three interdependent priorities can change the paradigm completely: educating girls, preventing their early marriage, and enabling their safe mobility.
A girl cannot be educated and learn skills if she cannot freely and safely access school, college, health clinics, sports fields, markets and workplaces. If a girl is not educated, she will not become financially independent. On the other hand, a healthy, educated, income-earning woman will make more productive decisions for herself, her family and her community.
Multiply this individual impact by 225 million girls and imagine what India could look like! A drastic reduction in sick and malnourished children, more equal and responsive leadership and an impact of up to 60% on the economy, according to a 2015 McKinsey report.
These priorities are not just the government’s or the UN’s or NGOs’ – they are the priority of every Indian who is committed to the country’s well-being and growth. What are we doing to ensure that every girl we know – our daughters, the daughters of our domestic help, the daughters of our neighbours – goes to school? Let us refuse to participate in weddings where the bride or groom is a child or where dowry has exchanged hands.
Let us intervene when boys whistle at, stalk and harass a girl at a bus stop. Let us report families and facilities that practise sex determination. Let us speak up when there is domestic violence in our homes and communities. Let our daughters have as much freedom as our sons and our sons as much responsibility as our daughters.
In his first Independence Day speech in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that the development of the country lay in supporting its girls. The government’s role is crucial, necessary, not enough. Achieving equality for girls and boys, women and men, starts in small decisions and bold steps in our own lives.
Read on -  
Yasmin Haque is UNICEF Representative. Diego Palacios is UNFPA Representative. Rebecca Tavares is UN Women Representative


Greater fiscal autonomy has not yet translated into higher spending on nutrition by states

Malancha Chakrabarty September 11th, 2017
India’s record in addressing undernutrition is abysmal. With a stunting rate of 38.4%, India accounts for about a third of the world’s stunted children. Photo: AFP
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi once said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Sadly, hunger and undernutrition continue to plague our country. India’s record in addressing undernutrition is abysmal. With a stunting rate of 38.4%, India accounts for about a third of the world’s stunted children. The proportion of wasted children in India increased from 19.8% in 2005-06 to 21% in 2015-16. Moreover, in states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, more than 40% of the children are underweight. Thus, nutrition should be high on India’s list of development priorities.
To be fair, India has a number of nutrition intervention programmes under different ministries. In absolute terms, India’s expenditure on nutrition schemes is quite high at Rs2.98 trillion but this is woefully inadequate if we take into account the level of deprivation in India.
Moreover, dramatic changes in the fiscal architecture based on the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission have raised serious concerns with regard to public spending on nutrition.
There has been a substantial decline in allocation for Central schemes. The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS), a key scheme which provides basic education and health services to women and children below six years, suffered serious budget cuts. Allocation for ICDS declined consistently from Rs16,684 crore in 2014-15 to Rs15,489 crore in 2015-16 and Rs14,736 crore in 2016-17. Although 2017-18 saw an increase in the allocation for ICDS to Rs16,745.2 crore, this figure is only 0.5% higher than the actual expenditure incurred in 2014-15.
In the case of other schemes, like the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, also known as Sabla, and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS), budget cuts were deeper. The outlay for Sabla declined from Rs622.4 crore in 2014-15 to Rs475.2 crore in 2015-16, and to Rs460 crore in 2016-17. In 2017-18, the allocation has been kept at the same level as 2016-17, which actually implies a decrease in allocation in real terms.
In the case of MDMS, there was a persistent decline in allocation from Rs10,917.6 crore in 2013-14 to Rs10,523.4 crore in 2014-15, and further down to Rs9,144.9 crore in 2015-16. In 2017-18, there was only a 3% increase in allocation, from Rs9,700 crore in 2016-17 to Rs10,000 crore. Again, the allocation in 2017-18 is lower than the actual expenditure of Rs10,761.4 crore incurred under the scheme in 2012-13. Even the 3% increase over last year does not mean much if inflation is factored in.
However, some Central schemes did witness an increase in allocation. The Maternity Benefit Programme, a conditional cash transfer to pregnant and lactating women to provide compensation for wage loss and adequate nutrition and rest, witnessed an increase in allocation from Rs634 crore in 2016-17 to Rs2,700 crore in 2017-18. The total cost of the programme up to 2019-20 is Rs12,661 crore for 5.17 million beneficiaries. However, nutrition experts regard this as inadequate because the number of beneficiaries under other schemes, notably the Janani Suraksha Yojana, was much higher at about 7.5 million, and that too in 2015-16.
Although the whole argument behind fiscal restructuring was that with more resources at their disposal, states would step up their expenditure, data on state budget allocation for nutrition schemes is not encouraging.
In fact, 2015-16 witnessed a decline in budget allocation in many states. In Uttar Pradesh, the total budget outlays for nutrition-specific interventions declined from Rs4,358.1 crore in 2014-15 to Rs4,054.9 crore in 2015-16, and subsequently increased to Rs4,573.3 crore in 2016-17. Budget outlays for micronutrient supplementation and deworming declined from Rs67.7 crore in 2014-15 to Rs58.9 crore in 2015-16, and Rs56.5 crore in 2016-17.
Similarly, in Odisha, the budget for nutrition-specific interventions declined from Rs1,188 crore in 2014-15 to Rs961 crore in 2015-16, and then increased to Rs1,302 crore in 2016-17.
In Bihar, there was a small increase in the allocation for nutrition-specific interventions, from Rs1,778 crore in 2014-15 to Rs1,972 crore in 2016-17. Rajasthan witnessed a modest increase in outlay for nutrition-specific schemes from Rs975 crore in 2014-15 to Rs1,022 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 1,106 crore in 2016-17. But budget allocation for nutrition-specific schemes in 2016-17 is 13% lower than the budget allocation in 2014-15.
Thus, greater fiscal autonomy has not yet translated into higher spending on nutrition by states.
Two critical questions emerge. First, can the Centre renege on its responsibility at a time when a large proportion of India’s children are undernourished?
Second, given that states have a greater responsibility, what can be done to ensure that they step up their allocation for nutrition?
While the former is an ideological question, here are some recommendations for the latter. Firstly, the Centre and state should work together to set nutrition targets for every state and district. Secondly, the Centre should play a more proactive role in monitoring the nutrition programmes of every state. Lastly, effective steps need to be undertaken to upgrade capacity at the state level.

Read On:  
Malancha Chakrabarty is associate fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.