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New Delhi: A quarter of India’s children live in extremely vulnerable situations face the risk of losing parental care and support. A child in Orissa, Bihar or Jharkhand is more vulnerable to losing parental care than in any other part of the country.
A new study has found that 62 of the 100 child vulnerable districts in India fall in the country’s poverty belt — east zone — that includes states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal.
The east zone includes 38.28% of the most vulnerable children followed by central zone (32.13%) and west zone (21.63%). The total estimated vulnerable children in India are approximately 11 crore which are 27% of the total child population below 18 years of age.
The estimation of child vulnerable districts and vulnerable children is part of a study by SOS Children’s Villages of India to enable it to target its future interventions in the vulnerable and needy geographic locations. Vulnerable children were defined as the ones most likely to lose parental care and support due to reasons like poverty, social unrest, HIV AIDS, disability and others.
SOS India general secretary Rakesh Jinsi said, “Besides economic reasons, social unrest and the political situation in states in the east zone have impacted child vulnerability. We have also noticed that vulnerability or the lack of parental support and care lessens as the children become older.’’
A large majority of children lose care and protection of parents between 14-15 years either due to abandonment, disease, death or displacement, he added.
The estimation of vulnerable children was done on the basis of census and population projection data. The study also found that districts with the maximum vulnerable child population included Murshidabad in West Bengal, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur in Bihar, Medinipur in Bengal and Nashik in Maharashtra.
The study also noted that while child population was declining in keeping with national population control strategies, the vulnerability of children continued to increase. The share of child population according to present estimates is 41% and is likely to come down to 37.1% in 2021. However, Jinsi said vulnerability among children was rising.