Drawing on the report of studies showing that a school bag weighing more than five per cent of the child's weight causes damage to his/her posture, and even may lead to disability, the Ministry of Human Resource & Development has been issued guidelines to limit the load but that seems to fail bringing considerable change in the system.
In 2012, a Class VI student in a Delhi school fell to his death while leaning to a railing because of getting overbalanced due to the overweight of his school bag. Following the incident, the NGO Uday Foundation has started an online campaign -- 'Save My Back', addressing to the MHRD. The campaign urges the government to recommend children not to carry school bags that weigh more than 10 per cent of their body weight.
Rahul Verma, the founder of Uday Foundation, said, "It was in 1993 that the Prof. Yashpal Committee first recommended reduction in the weight of school bags. Based on its report, MHRD asked the NCERT to rework school syllabus in order to reduce the load of books. The CBSE, too, framed relevant guidelines for its schools. But they were not being made mandatory and there is no any regulatory mechanism."
According to Dr Ashish Gupta, senior consultant, paediatrics, Rockland Hospital, the school bags weighing more than 10 kg are likely to cause back, neck and shoulder pain, numbness of hands and fatigue. Due to undue stress on muscles and ligaments of the spine, it causes the spine to bend forward or sideways. In the long run, this may cause damage to spine and muscle spasms.
The petition urged to MHRD to direct every school in India to provide lockers of such size, as may be prescribed, to each student up to Class VIII so they may keep sports equipment, books and notebooks in school and that if any violation comes up, fine will be incurred.