ISSUES PERTAINING TO M. J. APTE* CO-ORDINATION AND CO-OPERATION IN...
ISSUES PERTAINING TO
M. J. APTE*
CO-OPERATION IN CHILD
WELFARE S E R V I C E S * *
The purpose of this paper is to discuss tant social and economic implications.
some issues relating to co-operation and The age composition of a population is
co-ordination of Child Welfare Services in among the fundamental determinents of its
India. To achieve this, I would like to potential needs and capacities. The pre-
divide my paper in two areas, viz., (i) to sence of numerous children places heavy
take the review of existing child welfare burden on necessary housing, educational
services, co-operation and co-ordination in and health services, and on availability of
these services, and (ii) raise some of the economically productive time on the part
issues for discussion.
of women. It thereby affects family's ability
to savings. With 40% of India's population
I. WHO IS A CHILD
below poverty line the worst sufferers are
In India we do not have a definition of
a child. Different acts indicate different
ABSENCE OF CHILD WELFARE POLICY1
definitions. For example, according to the
Children's Act, it is below 16, according
In India we do not have a policy
to Child Marriage Restraint Act, it is 15. statement on 'Social Welfare' (Kulkarni,
For marriage, voting right and employ-
1964). Kulkarni defines social welfare
ment there are different ages stipulated. policy as strategy of action indicating the
Indian Constitution indicates "No child means and methods to implement the social
below 14" will remain without compulsory welfare services. A policy statement is like
primary education. So it becomes very major threads of warp and woof on which
necessary to define a "child" and his age. by filling details a mantle is woven" (Kul-
It would be better if we accept WHO karni, 1964: 26). Since there is no social
definition which takes into account the age welfare policy, no definite 'child welfare
from 0 to 14 and covers pre-natal age policy' has been evolved as yet. The
planners should view that expenditure
on children is investment in human capital
rather than consumption. The importance
of child welfare programmes is supported
Children account for a substantial pro-
both by the theories of child development
portion of the population in our country and the theories of socio-economic planning
(42%) as compared to 28% of child popu-
and policies. In the absence of 'clear policy'
lation in the developed countries (United we have to search for policy guidelines in
Nations, 1971). The difference in demo-
the Constitution of India and various acts
graphic structure and growth have impor-
* Mrs. M. J. Apte is Lecturer in the Department of Family and Child Welfare, Tata
Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Bombay-400 088.
** This paper was presented at the Seminar organised by Federation of Organisations
working for Children in India, December 1973.
1 Policy on child welfare has been declared by Dept. of Social Welfare Government of
India in August 1974.
M. J. APTE
pertaining to children and documents on According to the second All India Educa-
five year plans.
tion Survey (1967) 95% of the rural popu-
lation is served with primary schools in
CHILD WELFARE SERVICES
their own villages. But there is a good deal
of wastage in education. The percentage of
The Child Welfare Services in India could school drop outs at 7th Std. level is as high
be broadly divided into Statutory and Non-
as 85% in a city like Bombay where the
Statutory Services. Under the statutory best of educational services are available.
services we may include the services offered
Recent studies in school drop outs have
to juvenile delinquents under Children's brought out that a number of children can-
Acts, services to backward class children, not attend school because of poverty. Many
suppression of immoral traffic of Women children start earning at a very early age
and Children, Beggars acts etc. In these in spite of utter unemployment of the grown
services there are two kinds of gaps. First ups. Malnutrition, lack of clothes, books,
of all, there is no uniformity in the Acts per-
proper study-place are the factors which
taining to children. There is no common keep children away from school. Our pre-
objective. The second observation is that sent day education system is also responsi-
these services are partially implemented by ble for this. A child coming from lower
the Government and partially by Voluntary castes cannot adjust in the school which
Welfare Agencies. The Government co-ordi-
generally imbibes middle class values. The
nates the work with these agencies by giving teachers do not understand the difficulties
them grant-in-aid. As the Government is in learning situations faced by a lower caste
in a position to give money the relationship child who is the first member from the
between the Government Departments and family coming to the school.
the agencies is not of co-partners in a com-
The constitution of India, section 45,
mon activity but it is that of giver and says that the Government of India have by
implication accepted the responsibility of
Since we claim that our State is a 'Welfare pre-school education. The Planning Com-
State', the responsibility of the Welfare mission in their five year plans has men-
Services automatically lies with the Govern-
tioned the importance of pre-school edu-
ment. With the tremendous growth of child cation and expressed that "the highly im-
population in our country, it is beyond the pressionable plastic and educationally
limits of voluntary agencies to cope up with potent period of the child" should not be
the size of the problem. Child Welfare neglected. The various committees such as
schemes are spread over various sectors the Child Care Committee (1962) appointed
in the plan, such as health, education, la-
by CSWB. Ganga Sheran Sinha Committee
bour welfare, social welfare, community (1968), The Education Commission's
development, housing, etc. As a result the report (1966) has accepted the importance
child gets fragmented services.
of pre-school education. But still pre-primary
education is not considered as a service
The Indian Constitution which is most essential. There is an ambi-
makes it obligatory on Government to pro-
guity as to whether it is an area of educa-
vide free and compulsory education to the tion or that of social welfare. The pre-
children under the age of 14. In almost all primary education is equated with day care
the states, villages with a population of 300 service. The rural Balwadis are considered
or over have been provided with schools. as partial day care centres. This has affected
ISSUES PERTAINING TO CO-ORDINATION
the pre-school education movement. As it
The broad objectives of health services
is attached to social welfare, the monetary under the three plans have been to control
aid that a voluntary agency gets is very and eradicate communicable diseases and
meagre. Some careful thought needs to be ' to provide curative and preventive services
given to this issue. It will be worthwhile to in rural areas. Maternity and child health
accept pre-primary education as a part of services have been expanded and modernis-
total education and necessary policy needs ed through the establishment of Primary
to be developed. Most of the Balwadis are Health Units during the last four plans.
supervised or inspected by staff who are Family Planning has become the focal
not trained to inspect the education based activity of primary health centres.
institutions and as a result the agencies do
The proportion of rural mothers who
not get necessary guidance in the develop-
receive specialised assistance in these cen-
ment of pre-primary education programme. tres is very low. Most of the deliveries in
United Nations report on children (1971: rural areas are still conducted at home by
47) observes 'for the pre-school age group, the villages Dais. Though the immunisation
the use of television for educational pur-
service is available many babies are not
poses could be more extensively explored. immunised. Small Pox vaccination is now
It might perhaps be one of the means of available universally but still there is a
providing pre-school education at very low resistance on the part of the village com-
cost to a very large number of children in munity to immunise the child. The immu-
the developing countries". This needs to be nisation against Polio, whooping cough,
brought up to the notice of the authorities tetanus is not available sometimes due to
of All India Radio and T. V. Stations so non availability of vaccine and sometimes
that they can introduce such programmes. due to non availability of staff.
Necessary T. V. sets also need to be installed
In urban areas also the services offered
in poor class localities.
at hospitals are not sufficiently used.
There is also a shortage of children's hos-
Gore observes, "Health is pitals. Maharashtra has 18 children's
another area where an overall policy per-
hospitals whereas Andhra Pradesh, Kerala,
spective has to be developed. Among pre-
Haryana, Jammu-Kashmir and Rajasthan
ventive health services those which ensure have none. (S. Phadke, 1969: 20).
protected water supply and sanitation
should receive high priority. They are the
It is estimated that 50%
two strategic areas for prevention of disease to 60% of the child population suffers not
in all age groups. Next in importance are only because of the malnutrition of their
the services for child and maternal health. mothers but also from the accumulated
The foundations of physical and mental effect of their own malnutrition and under-
health are laid in the early stages of child-
nourishment which is a serious hazard to
hood and adolescence. Whatever can be their growth. At least two-thirds of Indian
done to protect and promote the health of children live in families which are poorer
the child will serve his own individual inte-
and larger than the average families. It is
rest as well as the interest of the nation" estimated that nearly 10 to 12 thousand
(Gore, 1973: 22). In the light of the obser-
children go blind every year due to vitamin
vations made by Gore the preventive A deficiency.
health services are a very important part of
Millions of children suffer from parasi-
child health programmes.
tic and infectious diseases. The calory
M. J. APTE
intake of Indian children is much below mated that about 5% of the total child
the required level.
population is expected to be victims of
School feeding programmes have been severe handicaps whereas additional 10%
introduced to supply nutritional feeding of to 15% may need special attention so as
the children between age groups 3 to 6 and to overcome less severe handicaps", (United
6 to 11. It is the responsibility of the family Nations, 1971 : 75).
to provide adequate food to its children
In the majority of cases, the handicapped
and Government should be urged to make child is a normal child faced with some
enough food available at cheaper rate to disadvantages which are often temporary.
the families. The draft outline of the 5th The general aims of a social policy con-
plan provides Rs. 400/- crores for this cerning every disabled child should be to
programme. But it is necessary to bring ensure that in spite of his handicap, he
down the food prices. Otherwise the number should be assisted to be as normal as pos-
of children who will need nutrition in school sible, happy, productive, self reliant, socially
will increase. In the rural areas through acceptable and mobile. The disabled child
the Central Social Welfare Board, the needs special attention but not over pro-
Scheme of Family and Child Welfare has tection.
been introduced. They conduct rural Bal-
In this area preventive work is very
wadis, distribute nutrition and arrange for necessary. If the normal Maternal and
immunisation with the help of Applied Nut-
Child Health Services are made available
rition Programme and the Primary Health to the people and if the villagers are edu-
Unit. I had an opportunity to visit some cated to make use of these services it is
of the projects in Maharashtra and it was possible to prevent a number of children
noticed that there was complete lack of from becoming handicapped.
co-ordination and co-operation on the part
of the three organisations viz. the Func-
(e) Children Born out of Wedlock:
tional Committee, the Public Health Units term "illegitimate" used to describe a child
and Applied Nutrition Programme. As a born out of wedlock indicates how some
result, the social change which was expected of the children in any society are denied
in the attitudes of villagers towards the fundamental human rights. (United Nations,
welfare of their children is lacking. Some-
1971 : 29). These children have no parents,
how we find that there is apathy towards no home, no caste or class bondages. Adop-
these programmes resulting in non-involve-
tion and Foster Care Services for these
ment of the people.
children are almost nil and these program-
The welfare of rural children is a respon-
mes should be strengthened on planned and
sibility of the Community Development systematic basis, so as to fulfil our nation's
Department, Central Social Welfare Board, commitment to the children's charter. The
the Commission for backward classes and stigma attached to the illegitimate child can
Tribal Welfare etc. and a good deal of be washed away if the child gets proper
co-ordination is necessary in their pro-
home environment. There is not enough
community education about adoption and
foster care programmes. There are not
(d) Services for Special Groups of Chil-
enough families to respond to the demands
It includes the services for physically of children needing adoption.
and mentally handicapped children. On the
basis of industrialized countries, "it is esti-
(f) Child Labour:
In our country, many
ISSUES PERTAINING TO CO-ORDINATION
children work for long hours for meagre other. In the rural areas, Government
returns. There is no control over the jobs is the major partner in running the services
they do or on their service conditions. The while the voluntary agencies offer their
exploitation of child labour adversely affects services mostly in urban areas. Though the
education and results in an inappropriately voluntary agencies (about 10,000 in number)
composed labour force. There are four share a very major responsibility in running
major areas of child employment (i) agri-
the services, they cover a very small
culture (ii) manufacturing (iii) trade and population which needs child welfare
(iv) domestic service (United Nations, 1971: services. As there is no comprehen-
31). Children of working mothers from sive child welfare Act covering nor-
lower income groups and middle classes mal children and no well spelt Child Wel-
pose another problem. There is organised fare Policy, the welfare state committed
day care service or creches for the children to the welfare of all citizens, does not
of industrial working mothers. Large num-
have much to offer. Dubey observes
ber of working mothers in construction, "It is being increasingly recognised that in
agriculture and in organised Small Scale a welfare state the measures of social
Industries like, 'Bidi' making leave their security, maternity and health services, assis-
children in home to the custody of elder tance to the dependents and the handicapp-
children in the family. Efforts should be ed, employment services, services to the
made to review the legislative measures and needy will have to be provided universally.
think of a strategy to bring these children Ultimately, therefore, the state will have
to be responsible for providing these services
though the voluntary agencies will continue
(g) Child Abuse:
With deteriorating to help" (Dubey, 1973 : 11). In this respect
economic conditions we come across a it will be worthwhile to examine the grant-
number of children misused for begging, in-aid programme of the Governments.
transporting illicit liquor etc. The growth Kulkarni observes in the evolution
of the cities and the expansion of slums of a country-wide grant-in-aid system, cer-
are having the effect of increasing child tain irritants have also been experienced
abuse. With shortage of foodgrains we both by the grant-in-aid giving body as well
observe a number of children being used as by the receipient" (Kulkarni, 1964 : 26).
for carrying rice in the black market.
He further observes:
Children whose parents are in marital
"The question about the precise quantum
discord, suffer from various types of emo-
of a grant that would serve to stimulate
tional problems. In such cases, the parents and not cripple voluntary effort still remains
have to be helped to control their im-
unanswered" (Kulkarni, 1964 : 26).
pulsive behaviour and help their children
to grow in a healthy way.
The observations on Grant-in-aid are:
(i) The grants are given by different
II. CO-OPERATION AND CO-ORDINATION IN
CHILD WELFARE SERVICES
(ii) There is no common pattern of
Child welfare services are scattered in
(iii) Grant-in-aid is inadequate,
Government agencies under different depart-
(iv) The state cannot help all the existing
ments and various authorities, on the one
hand and the voluntary agencies on the
(v) The state cannot help adequately the
M. J. A P T E
agencies which already receive help, policy. Many workers in the voluntary
a n d
agencies as well as the staff members in
(vi) There is no ratio determined as to Government departments and Central Social
how much the agencies should raise Welfare Board are untrained. There is a
and how much should be the state tendency to recruit without advertising. As
share? 50-50, 40-60, 20-80 or what? a result they follow a routine which is out
dated. The staff show no initiative. They
It is necessary to regularise the grant-in-
are not equipped to handle the welfare
aid system on the model of the Education tasks. If we want to bring social change
Departments' Grant-in-aid programmes to through welfare programmes, we have to
secondary schools. Secondly, the grant-in-
realise the importance of properly qualified
aid patterns is highly discriminatory. When staff. The terms "Untrained Balwadi
the Government runs the same programme teacher", "Untrained Social Worker", indi-
they spend almost 3 times the funds. To cate that they are not equipped for the
quote an example, when the Central Social work that they are supposed to do. It will
Welfare Board runs a Balwadi and nutri-
be worthwhile to formulate the staff policy
tion programme in a rural area, the expendi-
in such a way that the problems of the staff
ture at one centre is quite high. Under the members could be examined and they could
scheme of Family and Child Welfare Project be given proper training. A number of un-
they pay a full salary to a Balsevika trained persons who are employed in the
which comes to 260/-. While giving grant welfare agencies are eager to undergo
for the salary of a Balwadi teacher to a training if proper in-service train-
rural agency the rate is Rs. 75/- if the ing opportunities are offered to them.
Balsevika is trained. Similarly, the Looking at the financial strength of the
programmes covered under the Child-
agencies to day it is necessary that Govern-
ren's Act, the Government certified ments should provide some percentage of
schools spend much more than the certified the funds required for supervision and
schools run by the voluntary agencies. The training. This is likely to bring long term
rate of grant per child per month is Rs. 37.5 returns because money spent in training
in the homes run by voluntary agencies the personnel is a permanent investment.
while in the Government managed homes
it comes to around Rs. 67 per child be-
INVOLVEMENT OF THE LOCAL SELF-
cause the overhead charges such as staff GOVERNMENTS IN CHILD WELFARE WORK
salaries etc. are paid by the Government.
If we compare the salaries of staff mem-
The local self-government bodies like
bers of the Government agencies and the Municipal Corporations, Municipalities,
voluntary agencies, we find a wide gap. It Zilla Parishads and the Gram Panchayats
is high time that the Government realises are the real organisations who deal directly
that the voluntary agencies are conducting with the people. Education and Health
a programme for which the Government Services are already under the jurisdiction
itself is responsible.
of these organisations, but they do not have
proper Social Welfare Departments. Actually
such departments are very necessary to un-
dertake large scale child welfare program-
In the absence of a proper social welfare mes. On examining the structure of Social
policy, there is also a lack of personnel Welfare Services we find that
ISSUES PERTAINING TO CO-ORDINATION
tional responsibility of running the welfare following observations:
programmes is vested in local self-govern-
1. There is a need for clear-cut consis-
ment bodies. Big corporations like Bombay
tant national policy for child welfare.
Municipal Corporation spend large funds
2. There is acute shortage of personnel
on Social Welfare Programmes. But there
working for children. Proper per-
is no policy of distribution on the grant-
sonnel policy needs to be evolved to
in-aid pattern laid down. The responsibility
fulfil future welfare needs of children.
of sanctioning grants rests with the finance
3. Even when the services exist, the
department. A Social Welfare department
people do not make full use of them
is extremely necessary to do this work. It
because of the attitudes, beliefs values,
will be proper to reach the people through
and low level of literacy. So there is a
an infrastructure of Central and State
need to have massive education pro-
Governments. Some may express that poli-
grammes to enable the parents to
tics may overcome the 'welfare'. But we
make full use of the services offered.
cannot overlook the fact that they already
4. There is a tremendous increase in child
handle education and health programmes.
population as a result it nullifies the
'Social Welfare' would be an additional res-
effect of the already inadequate re-
ponsibility. They also need to be oriented
sources and facilities. So child wel-
to keep in view the future child welfare
fare policy should be essentially linked
while drawing the housing and town plann-
with population policy.
ing schemes because parks, gardens, open
5. The Grant-in-aid programme needs
play-grounds etc. which are essential re-
quirements for child recreation are not
6. The child welfare programmes should
taken into account. The welfare agencies
be brought under one department.
find it very difficult to get suitable accom-
7. The local Self-Governments should be
modation and plots for construction of build-
involved in implementing the child
ings. The plots should be reserved in modern
welfare programmes at the grass
town planning. The encroachment in
Bombay on Oval Maidan, Girgaum and
8. The national bodies working for chil-
Dadar Chowpatty, Shivaji Park Maidan,
dren should guide the people and
should be strongly resisted.
create awareness about the emerging
I would like to sum up my paper with
needs of children.
Dubey, S. N.
Administration of Social Welfare Programmes in India, Tata
Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay: p. 11.
Gore, M. S.
Some Aspects of Social Development in India,
Social Work, University of Hong Kong and Tata Institute of
Social Sciences, Bombay: p. 22.
Kulkarni, P. D.
Social Policy in India,
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bom-
bay: p. 26.
Integrated Child Welfare Projects,
UNICEF, p. 20.
United Nations Report on Children, p. 29-31, 47, 75.