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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » IV. National Mechanisms » Child Related Policies » National Policy for Children 1974

The National Policy for Children 1974 is the first policy document concerning the needs and rights of children. It is a very brief document that does not come close to covering the mass number of issues faced by children in India. It recognises children to be a supremely important asset to the country. The goal of the policy is to take the next step in ensuring the constitutional provisions for children and the UN Declaration of Rights are implemented. It outlines services the state should provide for the complete development of a child, before and after birth and throughout a child's period of growth.

Some of the aims are as follows: children to have comprehensive health and nutrition programmes. Children should have free and compulsory education until the age of fourteen. Education should include physical education, and recreational time. Special attention needs to be given to children from marginalised backgrounds or children with social handicaps. Children should be protected from abuse, neglect, cruelty and exploitation. Existing laws need to be amended to take into account so that the best interest of the child is always first priority.

The policy outlines that programme formulation and implementation should give priority to child health, nutrition, orphan and destitute children, cr�ches and children with disabilities. The policy calls for the constitution of a National Children's Board to be charge of planning and upholding the rights of children. Voluntary organisations also need to be recruited to help ensure the above provisions. There is need for additional legislative and administrative support. Lastly the Government of India calls for support from all sections of people and organisations working for children to do their part to help accomplish the objectives set out in the policy.

Recently there has been a movement to update and expand the National Policy for Children. A new policy is in the process of being drafted with the help of various NGOs and government offices.