The Law Commission of India on 27 August 2015 submitted the 259th report titled Early Childhood Development and Legal Entitlements to the Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda.
The report examined the present constitutional, legal and policy framework including international agreements and conventions related to early childhood and presented suggestions to improve conditions of children under age of 6 years.
Important suggestions of the report
• A new Article 24A be inserted to Part III of the Constitution to ensure that the child’s right to basic care and assistance becomes an enforceable right. The Article should read as 24A. Every child shall have the right to care and assistance in basic needs and protection from all forms of neglect, harm and exploitation.
• In order to extend the right to education to children in the under-6 age group as well, Article 21A of the Constitution should be amended to read as follows The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children in such a manner as the State may by law determine.
• Article 51 A(k) of the Constitution should be amended so that the duty is placed on every citizen who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his/her child or, as the case may be, ward under his/her care.
• The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 should be amended so that maternity benefits should be increased from twelve weeks to 180 days.
• A statutory authority or Council for Early Childhood Development be created in order to ensure proper emphasis on the promotion of early childhood development.
• Provision should be made for the training of teachers to provide pre-school education, and there should be a budgetary allocation to fund training programs for the same to ensure quality standards and a proper implementation of the best methods of promoting play and learning.
• It is suggested that every child under six should have an unconditional right to crèche and day care provided, regulated and operated by the State, as found for example in the Act on Children’s Day 69 Care of 1973, Finland.
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When: 27 August 2015