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Alumni Update

Category: Uncategorized

28 Oct 2013


Shirin Tejani took the 10.5-week intensive ‘Children, Youth and Development‘ post-graduate diploma course in 2012. Following graduation she got the post of Research Associate with the Centre for Research and Experiments for Action and Policy (REAP) under the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), state Government of Haryana (India). Prior to this, she was teaching at the Symbiosis School of Economics, and has extensive research experience in India. She has also been volunteering with the Aga Khan Education Service, India (AKESI) for over 14 years, and since the completion of her Diploma at ISS, serves on the Board of Trustees of Fidai Institutions.

At REAP she is involved in two projects. The first of these is an impact evaluation of a pilot teacher-training programme for government primary schools in the State, while in the second, she is designing and implementing a pilot reading initiative for students of government senior secondary and high schools in two districts.

The work involves research methodology design using randomised evaluations, budgeting, surveying, and extensive collaboration with Action Research Associates at the District-level Institutes of Education and Training in Haryana state, as well as collaborations with academic researchers and education-oriented NGOs from across the world.

The most challenging part of her work involves co-functioning with government educators while also devising programmes to alter a chronic system and attitudes; as well as reducing the gap in learning outcomes between children attending government schools (usually from disadvantaged economic backgrounds) and those attending private schools (usually economically better-off). This task is even more crucial in the light of increasing economic inequalities led by the State’s ongoing economic boom.

Shirin is thoroughly enjoying the work and the learning experience that it provides.





A declining Child Sex Ratio constitutes a violation of the fundamental rights of girl-children.

This includes the right to survival, protection, development and participation of children, all key principles of the UN Convention on the Right of the Child to which India is a signatory. Social pressure on women and couples for producing sons combined with easy access to technology for sex-detection has created a market for sex-selection, at times further stimulated by medical professionals.

Commitment is key to improving child sex ratio. And this is deliberately deviated by State parties, Society, Community and Family as well. Presently, the all-India child sex ratio is 914:1000 (girls:boys), a sorry state of affairs, and in need of immediate intervention. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is now planning to develop a national plan to combat the draconian disease- the attitude against girl child. It is interesting to note that some States in India are far ahead in implementing schemes to address girl child issues. Some of the State initiatives are given below:

KARNATAKA: Bhagyalakshmi Scheme :  To promote the birth of girl children among families identified as below poverty line and to raise the status of girl child thereby raising the status of the society, Karnataka has implemented financial assistance through Bhagyalakshmi scheme for girl children born in the BPL families from 2006-07 subject to fulfilling certain conditions.

ANDHRA PRADESH: Indiramma Amrutha Hastham (IAH) scheme, a boon to pregnant women has been launched. It focuses on 20 key interventions and its monitoring.

DADRA AND NAGAR HAVELI, SILVASSA: Save the Girl Child scheme, a child protection scheme is under implementation and money is deposited on the girl child’s name, under Profit Plus Policy of Life Insurance Corporation for 18 years and on maturity the beneficiary would receive amount of Rs.3.00 lacks.

save the girl

DAMAN AND DIU: Dikri Development Scheme (DDS) : To save the girl child and increase sex ratio, this scheme was implemented for domicile of UT of Daman. It is proposed to be accelerated & propagated in the community. Incentives to Girl students for pursuing professional courses at graduate & post graduate degrees. Cash incentives are provided to parents of tribal girl students. Cash award to meritious SC/ST Girl Students in Education. Cycles have been distributed to girls.

GUJARAT: The Mukhbir Yojana, which was launched in January to intensify the fight against female foeticide, has now started paying dividends. Decoy/ Sting Operations is carried out in the State. And mandatory quarterly reporting is monitored with regard to transactions.

RAJASTHAN: Rajasthan State Policy for the Girl Child, 2013 is an unique and first time effort and in operation in the state.  The Policy envisions “The girl child shall have an enabling environment for her survival, growth, development, protection, empowerment and participation, for exercising her right to life with dignity and without discrimination.”

ASSAM: Majoni scheme is launched for girl child. Reinforcement of PC-PNDT (Pre conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Technique) act in the State. Initiatives undertaken to Improve birth registration: this will facilitate to estimate the sex ratio at birth: a critical indicator to monitor progress. sessions of the Gram Sabha were also held to discuss and develop plans to address the declining CSR.

NAGALAND: ARSH program is under implementation in the state to reduce malnutrition and anemia of girl child & women, and address gender discrimination in access to health care services. Top priority is given to the health of mother and child through the RCH programme.

SIKKIM: Mukhya Mantri Sishu Suraksha Yojana Avam Sutkeri Sahayoj Yojana for the pregnant women is launched. Equal property rights for daughters along with sons have also been enforced in the State. In order to improve the service delivery by the ASHA, Sikkim has become the first state in the country to give a monthly honorarium of Rs. 3,000/- besides the usual incentives entitled to them.

BIHAR: Mukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana. It is also promoting Support Based Schemes in Education like Mukhyamantri Balika Poshak Yojana, Mukhyamantri Paribhraman Yojana, Mukhyamantri Balika Protsahan Yojana, Hunar Scheme, Meena Manch, Sabla etc. To prevent social evils Mukhyamantri Kanya Vivah Yojna to improve child sex ratio is promoted.

HARYANA: Jhajjar is the first district to implement Active tracker across India. Active Tracker has been developed. As part of this initiative, login ids were provided to all sonography centers in the district and it was mandated that they register online. All centers were required to fill “Form A” in online. Simultaneously individual logins are provided to district authorities so that concerned authorities can view reports on their personalized dashboards. www.merigudia.com is launched.

PUNJAB: Bebe Nanki Laadli Beti Kalyan as proposed under 13th Finance Commission is under implementation.. The main objective of the scheme is to curb female feticide and to provide better education to girls. Along with this, financial assistance under Dhanalakshmi will be provided to the families from time to time so that they are not burdened with the birth of the girl child.

Guest contribution by Manorama Dei. Manorama Dei is an ISS Alumni from India (MA Governance & Democracy 2007/2008, with an optional course in Children and Youth Studies). She is currently working as Senior Research Officer at the National Mission for Empowerment  Women,  Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India where she works on holistic empowerment of women, especially from the marginalized groups and sections of Indian society. http://www.nmew.gov.in/

by Roy Huijsmans

Last month the Hindu reported that the sixth person accused in the widely reported Delhi gangrape of 16th December last year has been declared a ‘minor’ by the Indian Juvenile Justice Board which, the Hindu reports, based its assessment on ‘school enrolment records’.

Even though the accused will turn 18 in June 2013, and some media have described the minor as the most savage of the attackers, the age assessment turns it into a case of juvenile justice. Child rights lawyer, Anant Asthana, explains the implications:

“If his offence is established during the inquiry, even if he becomes a major, one of the options before the Board is to keep him in a place of safety for a maximum period of three years for his reformation and mainstreaming.” (source)

Since the gangrape refuelled a debate on harsher sentences on cases of sexual assault, including the death penalty, the declaration of one of the accused as a minor has met with significant resistance.

However, there are also voices defending the age criteria for juvenile justice. For example, the Justice J.S. Verma Committee report on ‘Amendments to Criminal Law’ argues that:

“… We cannot hold the child responsible for a crime before first providing to him/her the basic rights given to him by the Indian Constitution.’’ (source)

Whilst this argument seems to apply to the case discussed here, because the accused minor is said to come from a poor family and been described as a (former) child labourer, and even as a victim of trafficking, the question remains whether the opposite, then, also holds. In other words should minors whose basic rights have been met not be judged by juvenile criminal law?

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