Activists for child rights welcomed the government’s National Policy for children. The policy was launched on Thursday. The policy will guarantee every child in India a right to life, development, education and protection.
"Whatever policy there might be, what is the point if it is not implemented," Ranjana Kumari of the Central for Social Research, however, told IANS.
She said it was important to set up a mechanism and earmark money to implement policies.
Meenakshi Kohli, director of Udayan trust for children, said: "Apart from the policy, constitutionally we have some wonderful laws like the Right to Education Act and the Anti-Child Labour Act. But it is important to implement them instead of coming out with new policies and forums."
Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi told IANS: "You need both policy and implementation. Implementation is extremely poor; it should be from top to bottom. It is almost non-existent at the ground level."
Bedi has worked closely with child rights since her stint in the government.
The policy recognizes every person below 18 years of age as a child and that "childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own."
Of India's 1.2 billion people, 400 million are below 18 years of age.
The policy promises a long-term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach for the harmonious development and protection of children.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ensure that the principles of the policy are respected in all sectors at all levels.