India's children might soon be making a global impact if they are developed to their full potential, according to Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury.
Chowdhury was speaking at the launch of Government of India and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) India Country Programme Action Plan 2008-2012.
" Women and children below 18 years of age constitute 71 per cent of India's population and by 2015, we might become the host country for the most productive citizens in the world, said Chowdhury, and added, "For that, the complete development of our children is essential".
Besides Chowdhury, UNICEF Representative Karin Hulshof, UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Maxine Olson and Secretary, Women and Child Development Anil Kumar were present during the occasion.
Chowdhury and Karin Hulshof jointly launched the Government of India - UNICEF Programme of Cooperation, 2008-2012.
During the launch, Hulshof talked about the relevance of UNICEF in India, its strategy and its special partnership with India.
While specifying the relevance of UNICEF in India, Hulshof said, "Basic needs like, reducing child mortality and morbidity, tackling severe malnutrition, promoting safe and clean environment, reducing gender disparities in classrooms and educating the youth on HIV/AIDS, still has to be met."
"Our mandate from the United Nations General Assembly is to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential," said Hulshof.
"In the course of the five-years partnership, UNICEF will make a substantial financial contribution of around 700 million dollars to India," Hulshof added.
The joint initiative is designed to help India achieve its national development goals as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while ensuring that no child is left behind as India moves forward.
The states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh are the focus of intensive programming, innovation, and social mobilisation to accelerate progress in child survival and development.
Besides, focused interventions in Assam, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala would be supported with advocacy and policy development.
UNICEF works in close partnership with other United Nations agencies, the World Bank, bilateral partners, the private sector and international and national non-governmental organisations. By Pratima Tigga