Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Agreement on new emission cut regime unlikely at Cancun

With the first commitment to emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol expiring in December 2012, the world is looking to a new regime of cuts, which is unlikely to be successfully negotiated here.

In 2009, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen set a target of achieving a binding treaty and it did not happen. Now the sights are set on a smaller, though just as important, issues.

Saleemul Haq, senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in London, says there are two broad camps. One is the extremists or absolutists, the all or nothing group. The second group is more pragmatic; it looks to the “doable” and there could be some progress here.

A positive outcome

In terms of negotiations, the Copenhagen conference was close to an agreement on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus, adaptation and technology transfer, but the only question was how much money was available or would be given by the developed countries. A positive outcome was that for the first time, $30 billion was promised as fast start climate finance over the next three years. However, this offer was made so late that it was simply not enough to overcome the negative momentum last year.

According to an IIED study, of the $30 billion, only $3 billion was meant for adaptation, which was not balanced at all. Adaptation funding was under-exploited by countries. The other issue was the channel of funding. Every developed country wanted its aid agencies or banks to route the money while the developing world wanted it through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A few countries like Spain have pledged €40 million to the UNFCCC.

Cancun is all about money, according to Dr. Haq. He said the promised Green Fund could materialise sooner or later. The U.S. had a strong preference for routing funds outside the UNFCCC. The developed nations had a mental frame for assistance — it was a paradigm of charity still. However, it was important to understand that this was an agreement where the recipients had a say and it was not charity, he pointed out. For instance, Norway had given $5.4 billion. The French were giving loans for the fast start period of three years. With the promise of more finance after 2012, the Green Fund could be a reality.

However the danger in not having a binding treaty was that matters could be accomplished outside the U.N. framework. The ‘polluter pays' principle enunciated in the UNFCCC clearly put the onus on the polluter. It was not a charity at all. The problem was serious enough to warrant payment.

Matters were in an incremental phase, he explained, and the time for a “big bang” would come five years later when the fifth assessment report by the UNFCC would be out. China, which was heavily investing in new technologies, was looking to a post-carbon phase and it could lead the way five years from now, he predicted.

However, Dr. Haq was clear that even if climate change negotiations went out of the purview of the U.N. to the G-20 level as was widely expected, the UNFCCC could not be killed. Even in the G-20, environment agreements dominated and energy agreements were related to climate change measures. But such unilateral actions could not curb temperatures increase to below 2 degrees Celsius as committed by the industrialised countries. Any hope of binding emission cuts was dim with the resurgence of Republicans in the U.S. and climate change deniers.

In the third world, climate change was accepted as a reality. China had also realised that the fossil fuel era was over and it was making a transition to cleaner technologies. Maldives, though a small country would be carbon neutral in 10 years, he said.

Other sources closely tracking the negotiations say that a Green Fund is a possibility here. So was a Cancun Mandate of sorts that would determine the outcome of the groups working to meaningfully negotiate the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol. It will take some lengthy negotiation to convert the delicate portions of the Kyoto Protocol into a long term binding commitment.Copenhagen is a lesson that smaller agreements are possible if one did not aim big. It remains to be seen if that lesson has been learnt a year later.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

ISRO's communication satellite HYLAS launched successfully

An advanced communication satellite HYLAS (Highly Adaptable Satellite), built by ISRO on a commercial basis in partnership with EADS-Astrium of Europe, was successfully launched November 27, 2010 at 00.09 hours Indian Standard Time (IST) by the European Ariane-5 V198 launch vehicle. The launch took place from the Guyana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guyana.

Thirty-five minutes after its lift-off, HYLAS separated from Ariane-5 launch vehicle after reaching its intended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka successfully received radio signals transmitted by HYLAS and the satellite's health is normal.

HYLAS satellite developed for Avanti Communications, UK consists of ten high power transponders that use eight in Ka and two in Ku band frequencies. The satellite is designed to deliver high-speed broadband services through its spot beams over Europe. The satellite is expected to be operated from 33.5 deg. W longitude for European coverage.

The contract for building of satellite was won in the year 2006 after competing along other leading manufacturers of USA and Europe through the strategic alliance worked out between Antrix/ISRO and M/s. EADS Astrium of France. The alliance was formed to jointly develop communication satellites with ISRO platforms and Astrium payloads and market them internationally.

Astrium had the responsibility for overall program management and delivery of the communications payload and Antrix/ISRO provided the satellite bus and also performed the satellite integration and testing at ISRO's facility in Bangalore. HYLAS satellite weighing 2541 kg at lift-off is the heaviest satellite built by ISRO for I-2K bus capable of operating for over 15 years mission life as demanded by the customer. The satellite's solar panels generate a maximum of about 3200 Watts of power.

Antrix/ISRO is also responsible for the post launch operations of HYLAS, which are being conducted from the Master Control Facility, Hassan. The operations include firing of the satellite's Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in three phases to place the satellite in geostationary orbit. The first firing of LAM is scheduled for the early hours of November 28, 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


XVI Asian Games
XVI Asian Games

Logo of the 2010 Asian Games
Host city Guangzhou, China
Motto Thrilling Games, Harmonious Asia
Nations participating 45
Athletes participating 9,704
Events 476 in 42 sports
Opening ceremony 12 November
Closing ceremony 27 November
Officially opened by Wen Jiabao
Athlete's Oath Fu Haifeng
Judge's Oath Yan Ninan
Torch Lighter He Chong
Main Stadium Haixinsha Island

UNESCO representative list of India intangible cultural heritage of humanity

The Aalst Carnival in Belgium, the Peking Opera, Spanish Flamenco, the Wayuu normative system in Colombia, the traditional skills of carpet weaving in Kashan in Iran, and falconry, presented by 11 countries, are among the 46 elements inscribed today on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee, chaired by Jacob Ole Miaron from Kenya and meeting in Nairobi until 19 November 2010, examined and inscribed 46 of the 47 nominations presented.

India - Chhau dance - Chhau dance is a tradition from eastern India that enacts episodes from epics including the Mahabharata and Ramayana, local folklore and abstract themes. Its three distinct styles hail from the regions of Seraikella, Purulia and Mayurbhanj, the first two using masks. Chhau dance is intimately connected to regional festivals, notably the spring festival Chaitra Parva. Its origin is traceable to indigenous forms of dance and martial practices. Its vocabulary of movement includes mock combat techniques, stylized gaits of birds and animals and movements modelled on the chores of village housewives. Chhau is taught to male dancers from families of traditional artists or from local communities. The dance is performed at night in an open space to traditional and folk melodies, played on the reed pipes mohuri and shehnai. The reverberating drumbeats of a variety of drums dominate the accompanying music ensemble. Chhau is an integral part of the culture of these communities. It binds together people from different social strata and ethnic background with diverse social practices, beliefs, professions and languages. However, increasing industrialization, economic pressures and new media are leading to a decrease in collective participation with communities becoming disconnected from their roots


India - Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan - Songs and dances are an expression of the Kalbelia community’s traditional way of life. Once professional snake handlers, Kalbelia today evoke their former occupation in music and dance that is evolving in new and creative ways. Today, women in flowing black skirts dance and swirl, replicating the movements of a serpent, while men accompany them on the khanjari percussion instrument and the poongi, a woodwind instrument traditionally played to capture snakes. The dancers wear traditional tattoo designs, jewellery and garments richly embroidered with small mirrors and silver thread. Kalbelia songs disseminate mythological knowledge through stories, while special traditional dances are performed during Holi, the festival of colours. The songs also demonstrate the poetic acumen of the Kalbelia, who are reputed to compose lyrics spontaneously and improvise songs during performances. Transmitted from generation to generation, the songs and dances form part of an oral tradition for which no texts or training manuals exist. Song and dance are a matter of pride for the Kalbelia community, and a marker of their identity at a time when their traditional travelling lifestyle and role in rural society are diminishing. They demonstrate their community’s attempt to revitalize its cultural heritage and adapt it to changing socioeconomic conditions.

India - Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala - Mudiyettu is a ritual dance drama from Kerala based on the mythological tale of a battle between the goddess Kali and the demon Darika. It is a community ritual in which the entire village participates. After the summer crops have been harvested, the villagers reach the temple in the early morning on an appointed day. Mudiyettu performers purify themselves through fasting and prayer, then draw a huge image of goddess Kali, called as kalam, on the temple floor with coloured powders, wherein the spirit of the goddess is invoked. This prepares the ground for the lively enactment to follow, in which the divine sage Narada importunes Shiva to contain the demon Darika, who is immune to defeat by mortals. Shiva instead commands that Darika will die at the hand of the goddess Kali. Mudiyettu is performed annually in ‘Bhagavati Kavus’, the temples of the goddess, in different villages along the rivers Chalakkudy Puzha, Periyar and Moovattupuzha. Mutual cooperation and collective participation of each caste in the ritual instils and strengthens common identity and mutual bonding in the community. Responsibility for its transmission lies with the elders and senior performers, who engage the younger generation as apprentices during the course of the performance. Mudiyettu serves as an important cultural site for transmission of traditional values, ethics, moral codes and aesthetic norms of the community to the next generation, thereby ensuring its continuity and relevance in present times.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Indo-Bangla co-production a big draw at IFFI

A piece of history is to be notched up shortly with the international release of director Goutam Ghose's Indo-Bangla co-production, Maner Manush that had its first screening at the 41st International Film Festival of India here on Thursday. Part of the competition section, it will be released commercially simultaneously in both countries at the conclusion of the festival, becoming the first film ever to get the honour.

The film, based on the story of Sufi Lalan Fakir, was shot in both India and Bangladesh. It has leading actors from both sides including Prosenjit, Priyangshu Chatterji and Raisul Islam.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ghose said: “I went in quest of knowledge to Lalan Fakir's ancestral village of Kushtia. He composed some 10,000 songs but only about a thousand have survived. They are all without notation.”

At the IFFI screening, the film attracted great crowd and rave reviews. Ghose said, “Such a film is the need of the hour. The 21st century is the century of intolerance. There is religious intolerance, political intolerance and cultural intolerance. Lalan's message of one creator of the entire world without any divisions of caste, creed or religion is relevant to everybody.”

Based on a novel by Sunil Gangopadhyay, the film was written nearly two decades ago after the Babri Masjid was pulled down at Ayodhya in 1992. “I planned this film immediately after the demolition. I wanted to highlight the shared past, the social harmony of our land with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians living together. But I got involved with other projects and it got delayed. However, its topicality is probably only enhanced.”

The film is said to be in the running for an award at the IFFI.

Draft framework of Food Security Bill ready

The National Advisory Council, headed by Sonia Gandhi, on Friday discussed the draft framework of the Food Security Bill which aims at providing differential legal entitlements of foodgrains.

Harsh Mander, the convenor of the Working Group on Food Security Bill, made a presentation on the first draft. Since the meeting was brief, members could not discuss the document “line-by-line.”

Earlier this month, the NAC had handed over a “concept paper” on the Food Security Bill to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Dr. Singh had asked his Economic Advisory Council to go through the document and send its comments by December 20, an NAC member said on November 26.

“In our effort to help the government fast track the process, the NAC in the meantime has drafted a framework for the Food Security Bill...the bill was presented before the Council,” another member said.

The Working Group on the Bill will carry out “intensive discussion” on the 40-page document on December 10. “In the meantime, we expect the feedback from the PM’s Economic Advisory Council and will incorporate the changes and suggestions made by it... we hope to possibly finalise the draft bill in the next NAC meeting on December 21,” the member said.

He said final drafting will be made by the concerned ministry in consultation with the Law Ministry before it is put before the Union Cabinet.

At its previous meeting, the NAC had recommended having differential legal entitlements of foodgrains.

The NAC had also decided to set aside the BPL criteria and suggested two broad categories — priority and general — eligible for legal foodgrain entitlement under the proposed food security law.

As per the recommendations, those under the ‘priority’ category will have a monthly entitlement of Rs 35 kg foodgrains at a subsidised price of Re 1 per kg for millets, Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 3 per kg for rice.

The ‘general’ category households will have a legal monthly entitlement of 20 kg of foodgrains at a price not exceeding 50 per cent of the Minimum Support Price.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Ending the political high drama in the state of Andhra Pradesh the Congress High Command team consisting of Mr.Pranab Mukharjee, A.K.Antony, Veerappa Moily, and Ahmed Patel has invited the present Assembly Speaker Mr.Kiran Kumar Reddy, to be the successor to Mr.Roshaiah after the Congress Party Legislators meeting at Hyderabad the late evening. This strategy is adopted to control the Mr.Jagan Mohan Reddy’s group, as Mr.Kiran Kumar Reddy represents and belongs to Vayalpadu in Rayalaseema region and also a close aide to demised Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr.Y.S.Raja Sekhar Reddy.

Andhra Pradesh CM Rosaiah has Resigned

Now Latest buzz in Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah has resigned from the post of CM. This is mainly due to pressures as said by him. 24th Nov, 2010, met Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan given his resignation letter.

NDA gets three-fourths majority in Bihar

The Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP alliance on Wednesday attained a three-fourths majority in Bihar, bagging 183 of the 243-Assembly seats while still leading in 23 places.

The JD(U) on its own won 99 seats, while its electoral ally the BJP snapped up 84 of the 141 and 102 seats, they contested respectively.

Reducing the opposition to tatters, the NDA partners improved their performance considerably compared to the last elections in 2005, when they together won 143 seats.

The RJD-LJP alliance steered by Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan, both of whom did not contest, ate humble pie and secured just 22 seats with the RJD (18) and LJP (4) while leading in two other places. They together had 64 seats — RJD (54) and LJP (10) — last time.

To add to the RJD’s humiliation, former Chief Minister and Mr. Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi lost both Sonepur and Raghopur Assembly constituencies. Ms. Rabri Devi lost the Raghopur seat to Satish Kumar of the JD(U) by 1,300 votes. She had held the seat three times in a row.

The Congress suffered a major electoral setback as it won only four seats compared to the nine it held in 2005.

The CPI won one seat and Independents emerged victorious at three places.

Reacting to the people’s verdict, Mr. Kumar said, “We have no magic wand, but people’s trust. I will need to work harder than I did in the last five years and I will not hesitate to do it.

“The outcome of the elections also proves beyond doubt that it was a victory for development and for the people of the State.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Human Development Report 2010: A Synopsis

The 2010 HDR Report by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), titled “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development” celebrates the contributions of the human development approach, which is as relevant as ever to making sense of our changing world and finding ways to improve people’s well-being. The Report is also about how the human development approach can adjust to meet the challenges of the new millennium.

India is ranked 119 out of 169 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) of the UNDP’s 2010 Human Development Report. This marks an improvement of just one rank between 2005 and 2010 though the report, a special 20th anniversary edition, places India among top 10 performers globally in terms of HDI measured on income growth. The category is led by China. India comes 10th after Botswana, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Mauritius.

China has improved eight notches (from 2005 to 2010) to secure the 89th position. In South Asia, Nepal has gained five places to reach the 138th rank. Maldives has risen four places to 107; Sri Lanka at 91 too has pipped India in the rankings though Pakistan has lost two ranks to fall to 125, while Bangladesh is up one at 129.

Though high on GDP growth, India reports severe inequalities (the report for the first time measures inequalities, gender gaps and multidimensional poverty as markers of human development) while several low-income nations have posted huge profits by investing in education and health. Nepal is the only South Asian country, which despite low income, stands as the third best performer in the top 10 movers the report highlights.

While the Congress-led UPA Government can take heart from the fact that India’s HDI value has increased from 0.320 in 1980 to 0.519 in 2010, higher than South Asia’s average of 0.516, India still lags behind among medium HD nations. South Asia, particularly India, post shocking percentage losses in HDI values if inequalities are counted.

South Asia loses 33 per cent of its HDI value if health, education and income disparities are factored in. This is the second largest loss after sub-Saharan Africa’s. India fares particularly poorly here, losing 30 per cent overall on the inequality-adjusted HDI. This loss includes 31.3 per cent loss on inequality-adjusted life expectancy index; 40.6 per cent loss on education but only 14.6 per cent loss in income-adjusted HDI index.

The best HDI ranker in the world, Norway, loses just 6.6 per cent to inequality while China loses 23 per cent and Bangladesh 29.4 per cent.

On all major markers of human development, India’s neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan beat it. India’s life expectancy at birth is among the lowest, 64.4 years as against China’s 73.5; Bangladesh’s 66.9, Pakistan’s 67.2 and Nepal’s 67.5. In mean years of schooling too, India lags behind recording 4.4 years while China has 7.5; Pakistan 4.9 and Bangladesh 4.8. On female labour force participation too, Bangladesh with 61 per cent is much ahead of India, which has just 31 per cent.

The 2010 report uses several new methodologies; hence its indicators are not comparable to those in the earlier reports.

Human development is about sustaining positive outcomes steadily over time and combating processes that impoverish people or underpin oppression and structural injustice. Plural principles such as equity, sustainability and respect for human rights are the key.

Human development is also the expansion of people’s freedoms to live long, healthy and creative lives; to advance other goals they have reason to value; and to engage actively in shaping development equitably and sustainably on a shared planet. People are both the beneficiaries and the drivers of human development, as individuals and in groups. This reaffirmation underlines the core of human development—its themes of sustainability, equity and empowerment and its inherent flexibility. Because gains might be fragile and vulnerable to reversal and because future generations must be treated justly, special efforts are needed to ensure that human development endures—that it is sustainable.

A major contribution of 2010 HDR is the systematic assessment of trends in key components of human development over the past 40 years. This retrospective assessment, an important objective for the 20th anniversary, is the most comprehensive analysis of the HDR to date and yields important new insights.

In some basic respects the world is a much better place today than it was in 1990—or in 1970. Over the past 20 years many people around the world have experienced dramatic improvements in key aspects of their lives. Overall, they are healthier, more educated and wealthier and have more power to appoint and hold their leaders accountable than ever before.

The world’s average HDI has increased 18 percent since 1990 (and 41 percent since 1970), reflecting large aggregate improvements in life expectancy, school enrolment, literacy and income. But there has also been considerable variability in experience and much volatility, themes to which we return below.

Almost all countries have benefited from this progress. Of 135 countries in our sample for 1970–2010, with 92 percent of the world’s people, only 3—the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe—have a lower HDI today than in 1970.

Overall, poor countries are catching up with rich countries in the HDI. This convergence paints a far more optimistic picture than a perspective limited to trends in income, where divergence has continued. But not all countries have seen rapid progress, and the variations are striking. Those experiencing the slowest progress are countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, struck by the HIV epidemic, and countries in the former Soviet Union, suffering increased adult mortality.

The top HDI movers (countries that have made the greatest progress in improving the HDI) include well known income “growth miracles” such as China, Indonesia and South Korea. But they include others—such as Nepal, Oman and Tunisia—where progress in the non-income dimensions of human development has been equally remarkable. It is striking that the top 10 list contains several countries not typically described as top performers. And Ethiopia comes in 11th, with three other Sub-Saharan African countries (Botswana, Beninand Burkina Faso) in the top 25.

Not all countries have progressed rapidly, and the variation is striking. Over the past 40 years a quarter of developing countries saw their HDI increase less than 20 percent, another quarter, more than 65 percent. These differences partly reflect different starting points—less developed countries have on average faster progress in health and education than more developed ones do. But half the variation in HDI performance is unexplained by initial HDI, and countries with similar starting points experience remarkably different evolutions, suggesting that country factors such as policies, institutions and geography are important.

Health advances have been large but are slowing. The slowdown in aggregate progress is due largely to dramatic reversals in 19 countries. In nine of them—six in Sub-Saharan Africa and three in the former Soviet Union—life expectancy has fallen below 1970 levels. The causes of these declines are the HIV epidemic and increased adult mortality in transition countries.

Progress in education has been substantial and widespread, reflecting not only improvements in the quantity of schooling but also in the equity of access to education for girls and boys. To a large extent this progress reflects greater State involvement, which is often characterized more by getting children into school than by imparting a high-quality education.

Progress in income varies much more. However, despite aggregate progress, there is no convergence in income—in contrast to health and education—because on average rich countries have grown faster than poor ones over the past 40 years. The divide between developed and developing countries persists: a small subset of countries has remained at the top of the world income distribution, and only a handful of countries that started out poor have joined that high-income group.

Understanding the Patterns and Drivers of Human Development
One of the most surprising results of human development research in recent years is the lack of a significant correlation between economic growth and improvements in health and education. Research shows that this relationship is particularly weak at low and medium levels of the HDI. This is traceable to changes in how people become healthier and more educated. The correlation in levels today, which contrasts with the absence of correlation in changes over time, is a snapshot that reflects historical patterns, as countries that became rich were the only ones able to pay for costly advances in health and education. But technological improvements and changes in societal structures allow even poorer countries today to realize significant gains.

The unprecedented flows of ideas across countries in recent times—ranging from health-saving technologies to political ideals and to productive practices—have been transformative. Many innovations have allowed countries to improve health and education at very low cost—which explains why the association between the income and non-income dimensions of human development has weakened over time.

Income and growth remain vital. Income growth can indicate that opportunities for decent work are expanding—though this is not always so—and economic contractions and associated job losses are bad news for people around the world. Income is also the source of the taxes and other revenues that governments need in order to provide services and undertake redistributive programs. Thus, increasing income on a broad basis remains an important policy priority.

One important aspect is how relationships between markets and States are organized. Governments have addressed, in a range of ways, the tension between the need for markets to generate income and dynamism and the need to deal with market failures. Markets may be necessary for sustained economic dynamism, but they do not automatically bring progress in other dimensions of human development. Development that overly favours rapid economic growth is rarely sustainable. In other words, a market economy is necessary, but not enough.

Regulation, however, requires a capable State as well as political commitment, and State capability is often in short supply. Some developing country governments have tried to mimic the actions of a modern developed State without having the resources or the capacity to do so. For example, import substitution regimes in many Latin American countries floundered when countries tried to develop a targeted industrial policy. In contrast, an important lesson of the East Asian successes was that a capable, focused State can help drive development and the growth of markets. What is possible and appropriate is context specific.

Beyond the State, civil society actors have demonstrated the potential to curb the excesses of both the market and the State, though governments seeking to control dissent can restrict civil society activity.

The dynamics can be virtuous when countries transition to both inclusive market institutions and inclusive political institutions. But this is difficult and rare. Oligarchic capitalism tends to spell its own demise, either because it stifles the productive engines of innovation—as in the failed import substitution regimes of Latin America and the Caribbean—or because material progress increases people’s aspirations and challenges the narrow elite’s grip on power, as in Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea since the 1990s.

Human development is not only about health, education and income. Even when countries progress in the HDI, they do not necessarily excel in the broader dimensions. It is possible to have a high HDI and be unsustainable, undemocratic and unequal just as it is possible to have a low HDI and be relatively sustainable, democratic and equal. These patterns pose important challenges for how we think about human development, its measurement and the policies to improve outcomes and processes over time.

Trends conducive to empowerment include the vast increases in literacy and educational attainment in many parts of the world that have strengthened people’s ability to make informed choices and hold governments accountable. The scope for empowerment and its expression have broadened, through both technology and institutions. In particular, the proliferation of mobile telephony and satellite television and increased access to the Internet has vastly increased the availability of information and the ability to voice opinions.

The share of formal democracies has increased from less than a third of countries in 1970 to half in the mid-1990s and to three-fifths in 2008. Many hybrid forms of political organization have emerged. While real change and healthy political functioning have varied, and many formal democracies are flawed and fragile, policy-making is much better informed by the views and concerns of citizens. Local democratic processes are deepening. Political struggles have led to substantial change in many countries, greatly expanding the representation of traditionally marginalized people, including women, the poor, indigenous groups, refugees and sexual minorities.

Recent years have also exposed the fragility of some of the achievement—perhaps best illustrated by the biggest financial crisis in several decades, which caused 34 million people to lose their jobs and 64 million more people to fall below the $1.25 a day income poverty threshold. The risk of a “double-dip” recession remains, and a full recovery could take years.

But perhaps the greatest challenge to maintaining progress in human development comes from the un-sustainability of production and consumption patterns. For human development to become truly sustainable, the close link between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions needs to be severed. Some developed countries have begun to alleviate the worst effects through recycling and investment in public transport and infrastructure. But most developing countries are hampered by the high costs and low availability of clean energy.

New measures for an evolving reality
Over the years the HDR has introduced new measures to evaluate progress in reducing poverty and empowering women. But lack of reliable data has been a major constraint. This year HDR has introduced three new indices to capture important aspects of the distribution of well-being for inequality, gender equity and poverty. They reflect advances in methods and better data availability.

Adjusting the Human Development Index for inequality. Reflecting inequality in each dimension of the HDI addresses an objective first stated in the 1990 HDR. 2010 report introduces the Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), a measure of the level of human development of people in a society that accounts for inequality. Under perfect equality the HDI and the IHDI are equal. When there is inequality in the distribution of health, education and income, the HDI of an average person in a society is less than the aggregate HDI; the lower the IHDI (and the greater the difference between it and the HDI), the greater the inequality.

A new measure of gender inequality. The disadvantages facing women and girls are a major source of inequality. All too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, education and the labour market—with negative repercussions for their freedoms. A new measure of these inequalities, built on the same framework as the HDI and the IHDI—to better expose differences in the distribution of achievements between women and men—has been introduced. The Gender Inequality Index shows that gender inequality varies tremendously across countries—the losses in achievement due to gender inequality (not directly comparable to total inequality losses because different variables are used) range from 17 percent to 85 percent. The Netherlands tops the list of the most gender-equal countries, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

Countries with unequal distribution of human development also experience high inequality between women and men, and countries with high gender inequality also experience unequal distribution of human development. Among the countries doing very badly on both fronts are Central African Republic, Haiti and Mozambique.

A multidimensional measure of poverty. Like development, poverty is multidimensional—but this is traditionally ignored by headline figures. 2010 report introduces the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which complements money-based measures by considering multiple deprivations and their overlap. The index identifies deprivations across the same three dimensions as the HDI and shows the number of people who are poor (suffering a given number of deprivations) and the number of deprivations with which poor households typically contend. It can be de-constructed by region, ethnicity and other groupings as well as by dimension, making it an apt tool for policy-makers.

About 1.75 billion people in the 104 countries covered by the MPI—a third of their population—live in multidimensional poverty—that is, with at least 30 percent of the indicators reflecting acute deprivation in health, education and standard of living. This exceeds the estimated 1.44 billion people in those countries who live on $1.25 a day or less (though it is below the share who live on $2 or less). The patterns of deprivation also differ from those of income poverty in important ways: in many countries—including Ethiopia and Guatemala— the number of people who are multi-dimensionally poor is higher. However, in about a fourth of the countries for which both estimates are available—including China, Tanzania and Uzbekistan—rates of income poverty are higher.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of multi-dimensional poverty. The level ranges from a low of 3 percent in South Africa to a massive 93 percent in Niger; the average share of deprivations ranges from about 45 percent (in Gabon, Lesotho and Swaziland) to 69 percent (in Niger). Yet half the world’s multi-dimensionally poor live in South Asia (844 million people), and more than a quarter live in Africa (458 million).

The impacts of the HDR have illustrated that policy thinking can be informed and stimulated by deeper exploration into key dimensions of human development. An important element of this tradition is a rich agenda of research and analysis. This Report suggests ways to move this agenda forward through better data and trend analysis. But much is left to do.

Three priorities are: improving data and analysis to inform debates, providing an alternative to conventional approaches to studying development, and increasing our understanding of inequality, empowerment, vulnerability and sustainability.

The economics of growth and its relationship with development, in particular, require radical rethinking. A vast theoretical and empirical literature almost uniformly equates economic growth with development. Its models typically assume that people care only about consumption; its empirical applications concentrate almost exclusively on the effect of policies and institutions on economic growth.

The central contention of the human development approach, by contrast, is that well-being is about much more than money: it is about the possibilities that people have to fulfil the life plans they have reason to choose and pursue. Thus, our call for a new economics—an economics of human development—in which the objective is to further human well-being and in which growth and other policies are evaluated and pursued vigorously insofar as they advance human development in the short and long term.

Indigenous Peoples and Inequality in Human Development
An estimated 300 million indigenous peoples from more than 5,000 groups live in more than 70 countries. Some two-thirds reside in China.1 Indigenous peoples often face structural disadvantages and have worse human development outcomes in key respects. For example, recent Mexican government analyses show that while extreme multidimensional poverty is 10.5 percent nationally, it exceeds 39 percent among indigenous Mexicans.

When the Human Development Index (HDI) is calculated for aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, there is a consistent gap of 6–18 percent. Indigenous peoples in these countries have lower life expectancy, poorer education outcomes and smaller incomes. In India 92 percent of people of Scheduled Tribes live in rural areas, 47 percent of them in poverty. In Chhattisgarh, with a sizeable share of Scheduled Tribes, the State-wide literacy rate is 64 percent—but that of tribal peoples is only 22 percent.

Some evidence suggests that a schooling gap between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples remains. In China, India and Lao PDR geography, climate and discrimination based on ethnicity make it difficult to deliver basic infrastructure to remote areas, where many indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities live.

Work in Latin America and the Caribbean exploring access to land and this aspect of discrimination shows that a focus on broad-based economic growth can benefit indigenous peoples but is unlikely to be enough to close the gap. More targeted strategies are needed, as proposed by indigenous peoples and as informed by their views and priorities.

Three Success Stories in Advancing the Human Development Index
Some countries have succeeded in achieving high human development following different pathways.

Nepal—major public policy push. That Nepal is one of the fastest movers in the Human Development Index (HDI) since 1970 is perhaps surprising in light of the country’s difficult circumstances and record of conflict. Nepal’s impressive progress in health and education can be traced to major public policy efforts. Free primary education for all children was legislated in 1971 and extended to secondary education in 2007. Gross enrolment rates soared, as did literacy later on. Remarkable reductions in infant mortality reflect more general successes in health following the extension of primary healthcare through community participation, local mobilization of resources and decentralization. The gap between Nepal’s life expectancy and the world average has narrowed by 87 percent over the past 40 years. By contrast, economic growth was modest, and the lack of jobs led many Nepalese to seek opportunities abroad.

Nepal is still a poor country, with enormous scope to improve human development. It ranks 138th of 169 countries in the HDI. Large disparities in school attendance and the quality of education persist, particularly between urban and rural areas and across ethnic groups. Major health challenges remain, related to communicable diseases and malnutrition.

Oman—converting oil to health and education. Oman has had the fastest progress in the HDI. Abundant oil and gas were discovered in the late 1960s, so our data capture the evolution from a very poor to a very rich country, showing a quadrupling of gross enrolment and literacy rates and a 27-year increase in life expectancy.

But even in Oman economic growth is not the whole story. Although first in HDI progress, it ranks 26th in economic growth since 1970, when it had three primary schools and one vocational institute. Its initiatives to convert oil wealth into education included expanding access and adopting policies to match skills to labour market needs. Health services also improved: from 1970 to 2000 government spending on health rose almost six-fold—much faster than GDP.

Tunisia—education a policy focus. Tunisia’s success extends to all three dimensions of the HDI, with education a major policy focus. School enrolment has risen substantially, particularly after the country legislated 10 years of compulsory education in 1991. There has also been some progress in gender equity: about 6 of 10 university students are women. But large inequalities persist, as Tunisia’s modest (56th of 138 countries) ranking on our new Gender Inequality Index demonstrates.

Rapid decline in fertility and high vaccination rates for measles and tuberculosis have yielded successes in health, as has eradication of polio, cholera, diphtheria and malaria. Annual per capita income growth has been around 3 percent over the past 40 years, linked to fiscal and monetary prudence and investment in transport and communication infrastructure.

India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) of 2005, the world’s largest public works programme ever, provides basic social security for rural workers: a universal and legally enforceable right to 100 days of employment per rural household on local public works at minimum wage. Labourers who are not given work within 15 days of asking for it are entitled to unemployment benefits.

The act has other noteworthy features:
  • Encouraging women’s participation. A third of employment generated is to be set aside for women and provided within 5 kilometres of their village; child care facilities (if required) must be provided at the work-site.
  • Decentralizing planning and implementation. At least half of allocated funds are to be spent by elected local councils; village assemblies are to select and prioritize projects.
  • Creating rural assets. People are to be employed to create public assets (such as roads and check-dams) as well as assets on private lands (such as land improvement and wells).
  • Imposing strict norms for transparency and accountability. All documents are to be publicly available, with proactive disclosure of essential documents (such as attendance records), and periodic audits are to be carried out by village representatives. In fiscal year 2009/2010 India spent almost $10 billion (approximately 1 percent of GDP) on the programme, and 53 million households participated.

On average, each participating household worked for 54 days. Disadvantaged groups joined in large numbers; a majority of workers were members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, and more than half were women.

Payments of minimum wages and improved work conditions at NREGA work-sites have created pressure for similar improvements in the private labour market, benefiting all rural workers. Distress migration to urban areas has slowed. And for many rural women programme earnings are an important source of economic independence. As Haski, a tribal woman from Rajasthan, said when asked who decided how programme wages should be spent: “Main ghar ki mukhiya hoon” (I am the head of the household).

Refining the Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI) remains an aggregate measure of progress in three dimensions—health, education and income. But in 2010 report the indicators used to measure progress in education and income have been modified, and the way they are aggregated has been changed.

In the knowledge dimension mean years of schooling replaces literacy, and gross enrolment is recast as expected years of schooling—the years of schooling that a child can expect to receive given current enrolment rates. Mean years of schooling is estimated more frequently for more countries and can discriminate better among countries, while expected years of schooling is consistent with the reframing of this dimension in terms of years. Ideally, measures of the knowledge dimension would go beyond estimating quantity to assessing quality, as several National and Regional Human Development Reports (HDRs) have done.

To measure the standard of living, gross national income (GNI) per capita replaces gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. In a globalized world differences are often large between the income of a country’s residents and its domestic production. Some of the income residents earn is sent abroad, some residents receive international remittances and some countries receive sizeable aid flows. For example, because of large remittances from abroad, GNI in the Philippines greatly exceeds GDP, and because of international aid, Timor-Leste’s GNI is many times domestic output.

A key change was to shift to a geometric mean (which measures the typical value of a set of numbers): thus in 2010 the HDI is the geometric mean of the three dimension indices. Poor performance in any dimension is now directly reflected in the HDI, and there is no longer perfect substitutability across dimensions. This method captures how well rounded a country’s performance is across the three dimensions. As a basis for comparisons of achievement, this method is also more respectful of the intrinsic differences in the dimensions than a simple average is. It recognizes that health, education and income are all important, but also that it is hard to compare these different dimensions of well-being and that we should not let changes in any of them go unnoticed.

Income is instrumental to human development but higher incomes have a declining contribution to human development. And the maximum values in each dimension have been shifted to the observed maximum, rather than a predefined cut-off beyond which achievements are ignored.

China plans S-E Asia rail links

China will, in coming months, accelerate plans for high-speed rail links with Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, as part of a wider effort to deepen engagement with its Southeast Asian neighbours.

In two months, work will begin on a 1,920-km high-speed rail line connecting south-western Yunnan province with Yangon in Myanmar, with trains running at over 200 km/h, the official China Daily reported on November 22.. The newspaper quoted Wang Mengshu, one of China's leading railway consultants, as saying studies were also under way to link Yunnan's capital Kunming with Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. In August, the Ministry of Railways also sent a team to Thailand to explore investing in a $ 25.6-billion, 240-km high-speed railway and rail network.

Beijing's increased infrastructure investment in Southeast Asia, analysts say, is part of a larger effort to expand economic and strategic influence in the region. Beijing hopes the investment will also ease anxieties among its ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbours over the impact of China's rising economic influence. While China became the first country to ratify an ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a fast-widening trade imbalance in China's favour, in part fuelled by the flooding of the ASEAN market with Chinese goods, has led to strains in commercial relationships with many ASEAN countries. The trade deficit grew to $21.6 billion last year. A number of countries have also voiced concern over the pattern of Chinese investments, which have generally targeted resources such as oil and minerals.

Protection of Children against Corporal Punishment in Schools and Institutions

Corporal punishment is an oft-used mechanism to discipline children. The intimate relationship between corporal punishment and discipline is not simply a convention of human thinking; it finds legitimacy via definitional assertions in dictionaries as well. ‘To discipline’ is often stated to mean ‘to punish’.


Understanding the Problem

The idea of punishment is intimately related to human conceptions of childhood and education. It is an established fact that childhood is only a 19th century construct. Clichéd popular thinking related to children such as ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’, ‘children are empty vessels’, ‘children need to be moulded’ persist in contemporary thinking of educators and has often served as the guiding principles of established school practices. This finds convergence with the ideas of what formal education aims to achieve.

Within the Indian context, two distinct yet related strands of the idea of education co-exist: the first is to do with the building of character and morals as the most important goal of education; the second, relatively more contemporary in nature is the idea of educating in order to seek adequate means of livelihood and social mobility. While progressive educational discourse associated with the ideas of Gandhi, Tagore, Gijubhai Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky assert the agency of the child and form a significant part of teacher education courses in India the nucleus of Indian educational practice revolves around the concept of ‘discipline’.

Academic performance – the ultimate goal of formal education, is attempted to be met by

making ‘discipline’ the centre of all school activity. Learning to concentrate, learning to perform in examinations and learning to behave in desirable ways are the key means of achieving this goal. This finds immediate endorsement from the parent community in India where formal quality education for the masses remains a mystified phenomenon. The paradox is in the coexistence of a relatively progressive educational discourse that advocates for the ‘agency’ of the child in her own learning and the preposterous practice of ‘disciplining’ children to ‘perform’ in school and board examinations.

Corporal punishment is an oft-used mechanism to discipline children. The intimate relationship between corporal punishment and discipline is not simply a convention of human thinking; it finds legitimacy via definitional assertions in dictionaries as well. ‘To discipline’ is often stated to mean ‘to punish’.

The idea of ‘disciplining children’ also stems from deep-rooted folk conceptions about children and their relationship with adults. The cultural practice associated with rearing and educating children permeates schooling practices across the country. These are: the hegemonic relationship between adults and children, often manifest in either a culture of patronage towards the young or control through power and the firm belief that education is the ‘effective transmission’ of ‘given knowledge’. Both these have cultural sanction.

Within such a socio-cultural and educational context how would the idea of enforcing ‘rights of children’ through legislation, work?

The voices and rights of children evidently need a platform that children themselves may not be able to create. The NCPCR is an example of creating an appropriate platform to voice the

concern of children, from children’s perspective, by concerned adults. It therefore becomes all the more important for adults who stand up for children to continually question their own

assumptions about children and the taken-for-granted patronizing attitude towards children often camouflaged under the garb of nurturance and protection.

Corporal punishment also needs to be looked at within the larger context of violence and child abuse that plagues the Indian society and human civilisation. Blurring of boundaries between crime and terrorism; between terrorism and the struggle for freedom; between the struggle for human dignity and the increasing complexities of class-caste-gender-community dynamics and the increasing abuse of children, have manifest more blatantly than ever before. The most vulnerable in a society plagued with legitimized violence, are children…whose stifled voices desperately need to be heard. Although systematic research needs to be done to bring substantial evidence to the argument, is there any denying that violence amongst school children within school premises is a stark contemporary reality across the globe?

Discourse on Punishment

The current discourse on punishment amongst teachers and parents is heavily tilted towards

physical punishment rather than mere verbal reprimand. It is also observed that most 12

communication about corporal punishment is camouflaged in a contrived ‘neutral’ discourse. As a 14 year old child remarked “Teachers do not know what to say or do, therefore they beat or threaten to beat.” Is it that teachers are helpless and do not know how to deal with in-discipline and with children’s energy levels?

The issue of punishment is closely associated with the self-image of the teacher as one who

needs to be ‘in control’ in order to be an effective teacher. This idea of control manifests in the popular conception of education which is to ‘socialize’ children in ‘desirable ways’ of ‘sitting’ in a formal class, ‘behaving’ in school, ‘following instructions’ from the teacher, talking only when asked to and finishing tasks on time. A study found this to be the view of many teachers who were asked to express their understanding of child-centered education.

Punishment is often also related to teachers’ orientation towards children. Most teachers are

trained to believe that they need to be judgmental about children and their learning; that they need to be in control. What discipline is, is not clear to many teachers. The unequal power relationships between adults and children further augments the problem. Children internalize cues of authority from school and at home and begin to legitimize violence as a way of life.

The overall vision and culture of a school indicates how children are perceived and treated.

Therefore it is important that strategies adopted must evoke sensitivity in adults to children’s

ways of thinking and perceiving. This should become a major area of focus in all child development courses in pre-service and in-service programmes of teacher education. Listening to children is important for teachers to understand them and feel less angry with the mistakes they make.


Corporal punishment is a necessary part of upbringing. Children learn from a

smacking or beating to respect their elders, to distinguish right from wrong, to obey rules and work hard. Without corporal punishment children will be spoilt and undisciplined.

Everyone needs discipline, particularly self-discipline. But corporal punishment is not a form of inculcating discipline. Research has consistently shown that that it impedes the attainment of respect for discipline. It rarely motivates children to act differently, because it does not bring an understanding of what they ought to be doing nor does it offer any kind of reward for being good. The fact that those parents, teachers and others have to repeat corporal punishment for the same misbehaviour by the same child testifies to its ineffectiveness. In the countries where corporal punishment is banned there is no evidence to show that disruption of schools or homes due to children has increased. This indicates that disruptions everywhere are conveniently blamed on children as they are the most vulnerable. The sky does not fall if children cannot be hit.

Research clearly shows that effective control of children’s behaviour does not depend upon

punishment for wrongdoing but on clear and consistent limits that prevent it. Therefore modeling and exhibiting behavioral standards necessarily depends on adults. Nurturing a

child’s behaviour is like growing a fruit. Its quality depends on the inputs. In nurturing a

child these inputs are love, tolerance, motivation and encouragement coupled with ease of

pace to learn or perform.

I was hit as a child and it didn’t do me any harm. On the contrary I wouldn’t

be where I am today if it were not for my parents and teachers physically punishing me.

Corporal punishment alters and destroys self perception of the victim. People usually hit children because they themselves were hit as children: children learn from and identify with

their parents and teachers. It is pointless to blame the previous generation for hitting children because they were acting in accordance with the general culture of the time; nor

should bonds of love and gratitude which children have towards their elders be denied. However times change and so also social attitudes with them. There are plenty of examples

of individuals who were not hit as children becoming great successes, and even more examples of individuals who were hit failing to fulfill their potential in later life.

Parents often hit out of anger and frustration – children, like adults, can be very wearisome

and difficult – and because they have no knowledge of alternative methods. Parents who try

alternatives report success.

I’d bet that if you asked children how they’d like to be punished they would

choose corporal punishment.

Children have a natural tendency to defend their childhood. If the influential adults in a

child’s home and school life use corporal punishment, it is not surprising that some children

may at first defend its use. You don’t want to think badly of your parents. The child learns

that he or she deserves a beating and that it is a necessary part of growing up. But attitudes

will change if children are enabled to reflect on how they felt when punished and are introduced to positive approaches to discipline built on respect, rewards and companionship.

Parents’ right to bring up children as they see fit should only be challenged in

extreme cases, like child abuse.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child replaces the concept of parents’ rights with

“parental responsibilities”, including the right and responsibility to protect the rights of children themselves. The assertion of children’s rights seems an unwarranted intrusion to

people accustomed to thinking of children as parents’ possessions, but children are now recognized as individuals who are entitled to the protection of human rights standards along

with everyone else. Other forms of inter-personal violence within families – including wifebeating – are already subject to social control and are unlawful in almost every society. It is quite wrong that children, the smallest and most vulnerable of people, should have had to

wait until last for protection.

There is a big difference between a vicious beating and the little smacks that

parents often give their children. These are not dangerous, do not cause real

pain and cannot be called abuse. Why should these be outlawed?

Firstly, the little smack does cause a child pain and is intended to do so. And sometimes

“minor” corporal punishment causes unexpected injury. Hitting children is dangerous because children are small and fragile (much corporal punishment is targeted at babies and

very young children). Ruptured eardrums, brain damage, and injuries or death from falls are

the recorded consequences of “harmless smacks”. People would no longer get away with

condemning violence to women, by defending “little slaps”.

I only smack my children for safety – for their own sake they must learn about


If a child is crawling towards a hot oven, or running into a dangerous road (likely to cause

risk to them) of course you must use physical means to protect them – grab them, pick them up, show them and tell them about the danger. But if you raise your hand to hit them, you

are confusing them– by hurting the child yourself, you are confusing the message the child

gets about the danger, and distracting their attention from the lesson you want them to learn.

Many parents in our country are bringing up their children in desperate conditions, and teachers and other staff are under stress from overcrowding

and lack of resources. Forbidding corporal punishment would add to that stress and should await improvement of these conditions.

This argument is a tacit admission of an obvious truth: corporal punishment is often an outlet for pent-up feelings of adults rather than an attempt to educate children. In many

homes and institutions adults urgently need more resources and support, but however frustrating adults’ problems may be, venting them on children cannot be justified. Children’s

protection should not wait on improvements in the adult world, any more than protection of

women from violence should have had to await improvement to men’s conditions. In any

case hitting children is an ineffective stress-reliever. Adults who hit out in temper often feel

guilty; those who hit in cold blood find they have angry and resentful children to cope with.

Corporal punishment is a part of my culture and child-rearing tradition.

Attempts to outlaw it are discriminatory.

No culture can be said to “own” corporal punishment. All cultures have a responsibility to

disown it, as they have disowned other breaches of human rights which formed a part of

their tradition. There are movements to end corporal punishment of children now in all continents of the world.

If corporal punishment of children is outlawed or criminalized, this will result

in outrageous judicial or disciplinary intervention. Children will be encouraged to act like police and spies in the home or school.

In relation to the family home, laws banning corporal punishment are about setting standards and changing attitudes, not prosecuting parents or dividing families. Welfare services recognise that children’s needs are best met within their families, so it is important to provide parents with help and support, rather than impose punitive interventions.

Over five million European children are already protected from all physical punishment in

their home as well as in institutions. The reforms have not led to a rush of children taking

their parents to court over physical punishment, and numbers of children taken into care in

Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries are low and reducing.

I bet if there was a poll on the issue a huge majority would support retaining

corporal punishment. This country is a democracy but there is no democratic

support for ending corporal punishment.

Representative democracies are not run by popular referenda. This means that the elected

politicians will, when drawing up new laws and the constitution, make a number of unpopular decisions, based on informed arguments. Proposals to end the physical unishment of children never enjoy popular support before legal or administrative steps are

taken to outlaw it. However public attitudes rapidly change once such steps are taken and

alternative methods of disciplining are made widely known.


As mentioned before there is a growing appreciation for addressing the issue of corporal punishment as an act of violence. There are many provisions through which the State can

intervene on banning corporal punishment.

Constitution of India

Art. 21: The interpretation of ‘right to life’ has been expanded to mean:

1. A life of dignity.

2. A life which ensures freedom from arbitrary and despotic control, torture and terror.

3. Life protected against cruelty, physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, exploitation

including sexual abuse.

Art 39. The State shall in particular direct its policy towards securing-.

e. that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age and strength;

f. that children are given the opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against

exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2006

Section 23: Whoever, having the actual charge of or control over, a juvenile or the child, assaults, abandons, exposes or willfully neglects the juvenile or causes or procures him/her to be assaulted, abandoned, exposed or neglected in a manner likely to cause such juvenile or the

child unnecessarily mental or physical suffering, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or fine, or with both.

This section has no exceptions to exempt parents or teachers. Though it is intended to punish cruelty by those in authority, it equally applies to parents and teachers. The whole purpose of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 is to translate the objectives and rights enshrined in Convention on Child Rights, which include separation of juveniles in conflict with law from ordinary judicial proceedings to avoid corporal punishment.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007

The Model Rules also enunciate ‘fundamental principles’ of care and protection with regard to the juvenile justice process and institutional care in Juvenile Homes which explicitly prohibit corporal punishment and maltreatment of children within the juvenile institutional system and lay out duties for the State for protection of children from abuse within the juvenile system:

Chapter II: Principle of dignity and worth

(a) Treatment that is consistent with the child’s sense of dignity and worth is a fundamental

principle of juvenile justice…..Respect of dignity includes not being humiliated, personal identity, boundaries and space being respected, not being labeled and stigmatized, being

offered information and choices and not being blamed for their acts.”

Chapter VI: Principle of Safety (no harm, no abuse, no neglect, no exploitation and no maltreatment)

(a) At all stages, from the initial contact till such time he remains in contact with the care and

protection system, and thereafter, the juvenile or child or juvenile in conflict with law shall

not be subjected to any harm, abuse, neglect, maltreatment, corporal punishment or solitary

or otherwise any confinement in jails and extreme care shall be taken to avoid any harm to

the sensitivity of the juvenile or the child,

(b) The State has a greater responsibility for ensuring safety of every child in its care and

protection, without restoring to restrictive measures and processes in the name of care and


Rules 46 and 60 further specify the juvenile home as an ‘abuse free’ environment and outline

mechanisms to ensure the creation of such an environment:

Rule 46: (3) the environment in an institution shall be free from abuse, allowing juvenile or

children to cope with their situation and regain their confidence.

Rule 60: (1) Every institution shall have systems of ensuring that there is no abuse, neglect and maltreatment and this shall include the staff being aware of what constitutes abuse, neglect and maltreatment as well as early indicators of abuse, neglect and maltreatment and how to respond to these.

The National Policy on Education (1986)

Para 5.6 Child-Centered Approach: A warm, welcoming and encouraging approach, in which all concerned share solicitude for the needs of the child, is the best motivation for the child to

attend school and learn. A child-centered and activity-based process of learning should be

adopted at the primary stage. First generation learners should be allowed to set their own pace and be given supplementary remedial instruction. As the child grows, the component of

cognitive learning will be increased and skills organised through practice. The Policy of nondetention at the primary stage will be retained, making evaluation as disaggregated as feasible. Corporal Punishment will be firmly excluded from the educational system and school timings as well as vacations adjusted to the convenience of children.

The National Charter for Children (2003)

This charter acknowledges the principles and provisions of the Constitution and of the 1974

National Policy as comprising its guiding frame, and includes ‘neglect’ and ‘degrading treatment’ in its listing of conditions from which children must be protected. The charter

states its intent to ‘secure for every child its right to be a child and enjoy a healthy and happy

childhood… and to awaken the conscience of the community in the wider societal context to

protect children from all forms of abuse…’ and asserts that ‘the state and community shall

undertake all possible measures to ensure and protect the survival, life and liberty of all


Article 7 (f): The State shall ensure that school discipline and matters related thereto do not

result in physical, mental, psychological harm or trauma to the child.

National Plan of Action for Children 2005 (NPA)

One of the core objectives of the NPA is “to protect all children against neglect, maltreatment, injury, trafficking, sexual and physical abuse of all kinds, pornography, corporal punishment, torture, exploitation, violence, and degrading treatment”.

United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child, 1989 (India acceded to this convention in 1992)

Article 3

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare

institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform to the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.

Article 19

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational

measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse,

neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those

who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification,

reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment

described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.

Article 28

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.

Article 37

States Parties shall ensure that:

(a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or

punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release

shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;

Article 40

1. States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive

role in society.

Article 42

States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.


There are several stakeholders in the present situation and the roles and responsibilities of each towards securing children’s rights have to be recognized. The important stake-holders are the teachers, the children, the parents and the community, the education departments and the State. If initiative is taken at each level then we would help deliver children from this abhorring practice.


The idea of ‘positive discipline’ techniques concentrate on reinforcing positive behavior of

children. Durrant in her study states that ‘positive discipline’ is based on the idea that children are born without knowing what we expect of them. Positive discipline is considered to be a nonviolent approach which respects the inherent dignity of the child, and seeks to find solutions based on child’s evolving capacities. It is an approach to teaching that gives them information and supports their growth based on their age specific needs. 11

What positive discipline is:

 Positive discipline is about long-term solutions that develop your child’s own self-


 Positive discipline is clear communication of your expectations, rules and limits.

 Positive discipline is about building a mutually respectful relationship with your child.

 Positive discipline is about teaching your child life-long skills.

 Positive discipline is about increasing your child’s competence and confidence to handle

challenging situations.

 Positive discipline is about teaching courtesy, non-violence, empathy, self-respect, human

rights and respect for others.

What positive discipline is not:

 Positive discipline is not permissive parenting.

 Positive discipline is not letting your child do whatever he wants.

 Positive discipline is not about having no rules, limits or expectations.

 Positive discipline is not about short-term reactions or alternative punishments to

Slapping and hitting.

Children’s Voices in the Classroom:


Children have to be encouraged to respect the need to maintain class decorum. This can be done by firstly involving children in making the rules of class-behaviour and discipline. If children feel they made the rules, then they are more likely to follow it. Once agreed upon, these rules should be well publicized amongst students, teachers and parents as well.

The participation of children in maintaining class-discipline is well ensured through the classmonitor system. Monitors are asked to notify the teacher about those children who are ‘making a noise’ and in many instances the monitors are given sticks to hit other children. This system very successfully pits one child against the rest of the class, dividing the class, and fuelling discontent towards the class-monitor. Such practices of delegated authority should be discouraged.


Resolution of class-disputes should also involve children. A good example followed in CIE Basic School, Delhi is the organization of ‘bal-adalat’. This class-room practice starts with stating the issue of dispute before the class. Then the involved parties (children) present their arguments justifying their actions. After discussing the issue, the entire class decides the directions to give. The entire exercise is facilitated by the teacher.

All India Teachers Forum for Child Rights:

In Andhra Pradesh, an active forum of over teachers has begun a campaign on abolishing

corporal punishment. The members of this Forum organize meetings in various cities with other teachers and discuss the problems that teachers face in teaching, the issue of corporal

punishment and the reasons for abolishing it. In one of the many instances the teachers of a

particular school were so inspired, that all the teachers of the school took their sticks and walked in a procession outside the school, and buried the hitting sticks, returned to school and declared that from that day forth, the would not hit their children. Some other converts have said, “Since I stopped hitting children in my class, one drop-out child has returned to school”. The Forum is successfully reaching out to teachers and helping them grapple with discipline and teaching problems. This peer-to-peer learning is proving to be a very effective way of sensitizing teachers and school managements about the harmful effects of corporal punishment and the immediate need to stop it.


The parents and local community need to take an interest in schools. The parent-teacher

meetings need to be convened regularly to help the teacher and the parent to understand the

child’s problems and make a joint effort at helping the child.

Role of parents:

Parents are in most cases the first adults to whom a child takes his/her problems. Their

participation in their child’s development should be recognized and facilitated and they should be empowered with knowledge of their child’s rights. The ill-effects of all kinds and degrees of corporal punishment should be explained to them so that they can respond to their child effectively. It is necessary to ensure that children are not victimized due to ‘silent’ parents who do not ask questions unless directly affected. In the process child continues to suffer the illeffects of such inaction on the part of the parents, unless such noticeable harm is suffered by the child as makes all else sit up at once. By then invariably, it is too late for the child.

Orientation meeting:

All schools may be asked to organize an orientation meeting of staff and parents of children at the beginning of the academic session. The participants of the meetings may include local NGO, Block Education Officer and District Education Officer also. The participants shall be sensitized on the ‘rights of children’ to respect, care, health, and an education free from fear. The parents opinion should be actively sought.

Notice Board:

A notice-board in every school must display the names and contact details of the PTA members, BDO and DEO. PTAs to be encouraged to act immediately on complaints by children before further injury is caused

Suggestion Box:

Parents and children are to be encouraged to speak out against corporal punishment without

fear that it would have adverse effect on the children’s participation in school. Every school shall have a suggestion box which is accessible to everyone- students, teachers, parents and school staff. This box should be opened regularly. The Karnataka School Development Management Committees (SDMC) have a detailed redressal mechanism which could be emulated by all. Therein the President of the SDMC receives the complaints and forwards them unopened, to a higher body which is the Civic Amenities Committee (CAC) in their case. In cases of child abuse the CAC constitutes a 3-member enquiry team of which 2 are women and one should be from an NGO not working in that school. This team will conduct investigation and submit report within 15 days, in which the team can recommend that the accused be warned, or suspended, or dismissed. In all cases the accused person shall be asked not to discharge his/her duties pending enquiry.

Social Audit:

A community social audit of the school will increase awareness amongst the community about the school practices, regularity of teacher attendance and teaching, condition of school

amenities, etc. Knowledge being the first step towards action, this will also build ownership

amongst the community for the school.


Since corporal punishment is tied to the larger context and concern of the prevalence of violence in society, popular constructs of childhood and education, it is important to bring Teacher Education Institutes into the fold of institutionalized mechanisms. This would involve addressing teachers through both the pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes.

Pre-service Courses of Teacher Education

These would include courses offered by DIETs and CTEs, University Departments offering

Bachelor’s Degree in Teacher Education, other certificate and diploma courses, including private institutions. The following suggestions are made:

NCTE in its norms for Teacher Education Programmes should stipulate a mandatory provision to include and integrate the study of children, their development and learning and the interdisciplinary study of the construct of childhood. More specifically Teacher Education courses should include the following:

 Constructs of discipline, classroom organization and management and the study of

children’s’ learning need to be integrated in courses of child development. This should

include a critical examination of existing practices of discipline in schools.

 A clear shift needs to be made from the current focus on courses of Educational Psychology to courses on Child Development and Learning. The current courses focus on models of instruction and learning theories rather than the developing child. The child has to be brought into the centre in teacher education programmes so that prospective teachers engage with the idea of teaching specific children rather than the application of theories of learning and instruction keeping in mind an abstract universalized notion of a child.

 Courses of Child Development should integrate separate units of study on the ‘Rights of

Children’ including Education as a Fundamental Right, debates and concerns.

 Child Development courses should also integrate the study of the construct of childhood

especially within the Indian context, rather than propagate ‘abstract, universalistic, textbook constructions of ‘who a child is?’ This will help teachers to view children within the context of the larger socio-cultural, economic and political milieu.

 Child Development and Foundation courses in Education should integrate the study of

popular notions and assumptions about children and education so that prospective teachers get the opportunity to critically examine their own thinking about children and education.

 Child development courses should also include training on key forms of learning disabilities such as ‘dyslexia’ and remedial classroom and out of class responses which help teachers develop tailored classroom practices and effective parent / teacher conferencing

 Courses need to address the issue of why children fail or are unable to perform. In

traditional teacher training the dominant pattern is to leave the onus of learning to children. There exists a major gap in teachers’ perception of their role in enabling children to learn. The current system absolves the teacher of any responsibilities towards learning. This orientation can change only through a concerted focus on courses that engage teachers with issues of children’s thinking and learning and error analysis.

 Courses in Teacher Education should have mandatory projects and field-based assignments to enable a more relevant discourse rather than only abstract theory. This will enable the use of theory to critically examine social reality and personal conceptions and social constructions.

In-service Teacher Education

 All in-service programmes need to have a dedicated focus on issues of child rights, discipline and corporal punishment. Need to create forums for teachers to discuss issues related with discipline and the difficulties teachers face in dealing with diverse and unpredictable behaviour patterns

 Teachers need to engage with issues of why children are beaten and when. They need to be engaged through the workshop mode on how concerns of classroom organization and

management and children’s learning can be handled using various kinds of techniques of drama and self-development, rather than an easy resort to punishment. Workshops need to be organized with systematic inputs from psychiatrists, child psychologists, pediatricians and counselors to sensitize teachers on the impact of corporal punishment on children and the role of the teachers in enabling a non-threatening learning environment in schools.

 Issues with regard to redressal mechanisms for children and peer pressure to restrain the use of corporal punishment should be the centre of discussions during in-service programmes.

 A major divide between the socio-economic and cultural background of teachers and

children in most state schools is a key factor in perpetuating the problem of corporal punishment. It would be strategic to develop and disseminate short films/video clips on the vulnerability of children and the responsibility of adults. This could be done through Doordarshan and Edusat programmes. The community radio can also be used for this purpose.

 This is likely to sensitize teachers. The strategy should be to appeal to adults (including

teachers) in their capacity as parents…in a sense urging them to start thinking about the

deleterious effects of physical punishment and their role in combating it. Teachers and parents need to understand that punishment amounts to disrespecting a child in front of all. The dignity of the child is at stake when teachers punish. This will also address the sanction that parents often give in justifying child beating for academic non-performance and matters of discipline.

 Mechanisms can be evolved with teachers to actively discourage violence amongst children in school settings. For instance, could we have a set of rules for children in class developed by children along with the teachers?

 The system of monitors in classes, chosen from among the students needs to be a major

focus of discussion with the aim to completely abolish the “use” of monitors to punish

children by beating them. Currently class monitors substitute teachers in maintaining

discipline by threatening and often resorting to physical beating. This has particularly led to a process of legitimizing violence amongst children, while absolving the teacher.

 The introduction of the concept of a Home Room (zero period) period everyday and a Home Room Teacher (HRT) who encourages children to share and express their experiences and feelings openly needs to be put in place.

 Principles of ‘restorative justice’ which focus on collaborative problem solving, and self

reflective, restorative approach to discipline are now being utilised across the world in educational and juvenile justice settings. In-service training should equip teachers to use conferencing and mediation techniques incorporating these principles for use with students, peers and parents.

 There is need to include school counselors (wherever available), school principals and heads in organizing concerted workshops on the issue of corporal punishment, classroom management and discipline in schools.

 In-service training should equip teachers to be able to identify behavioural and other signs of child abuse and appropriate utilisation of confidential reporting and referral processes to school counselors, authorities etc.

Performance Measurement

In establishing appropriate institutional mechanisms, which deter corporal punishment, other systemic drivers, which create pressures for negative behaviours and violation of child

rights also need to be addressed. One such key driver is performance measurement of teachers. Performance measurement systems which are only focused on the single dimension of reported examination marks of students (as an indicator of performance of both teachers and students) rather than a multi-dimensional assessment which includes total student development and classroom development (teacher’s ability and efforts to create positive and non-violence based classroom learning cultures) do not reinforce positive behaviours and create pressures for negative behaviours.

Re-orientation of teacher performance measurement systems could include:

 Introduction of 360 degree evaluations which include peer review evaluations and student evaluations of teachers (through processes which protect confidentiality and ensure constructive feedback such as communication of evaluation results on ‘aggregate’ basis etc)

 Reward positive behaviours and link promotions, salary increases to multi-dimensional

performance attributes including achievement of standards for ‘peaceful, positive learning’ classrooms by teachers

Other In-School Mechanisms:

 Maintenenance of register by Department of Education of violators with regard to practice of corporal punishment to enforce range of child protection measures in addition to the relevant legal actions. This would include non-renewal of teacher appointments for serious/repeat offenders or subsequent school placements only with appropriate counseling processes/probationary measures etc.

 Consider establishment of mandatory in-school or ‘visiting’ psycho-social and career guidance counseling services to provide independent, professional outlet for both teachers and students in addressing major areas of stress and classroom conflict.


Institutional standards of care in Juvenile Homes which specifically incorporate the following key measures to address the conditions supporting the prevalence of child abuse corporal punishment in Homes need to be implemented as a priority:

Governance and Monitoring

 A standardised discipline code of conduct should be developed for all child carers in Homes and should be reinforced through on-going training and linkages with performance measurement of staff.

 Management Committees must be established in all Homes to ensure appropriate governance, oversight and transparency of Homes and together with civil society ensure a focus on prevention of child abuse.

 Mandatory development of individualised care plans, which incorporate input from social workers, probation officers, carers, parents and children regarding stress factors, trauma and behavioural linkages and feed into individual remedial/rehabilitative measures should be regularly monitored / appropriately shared with child carers.

 Ethical enquiry processes regarding abuse must be established for the protection of both

children and staff and prevention of exploitation

 Configuration of Homes to allow small group care with each unit having primary care giver to promote family based care environment versus regimental correctional facility based, dormitory style arrangements.

 Parent and guardian involvement in Homes must be established as a cornerstone of Juvenile Homes with regular parent / guardian visitation, phone communication, home visits and involvement of parents / guardians in care plan development and participation in joint parent/child counseling.

Complaint Redressal

 All Juvenile Homes should establish a complaint mechanism for children where anonymity is preserved. A complaint box, (appropriately placed for both confidential child and parent complaints) should be accessed regularly by the Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Board members, who follow established redressal processes for complaint action management and forward copies of complaints and periodic action taken reports to the State CPCR and NCPCR.

 Assessment of Home specific segregation of children requirements to minimise risk factors for abuse

 Register of child abuse offenders in institutions to by maintained by Social Welfare/ Social justice departments to ensure barring from future employment in child facing roles.

Capacity development

 Child Rights Clubs, Bal Sabhas or Children’s Committees must be established in every

Juvenile Home to provide children with an opportunity to learn about their rights and responsibilities, develop mediation skills and participate in the operation of the Homes.

 Regular on-site training for child facing staff and carers including child rights, childcare and development, special needs and referral processes.

 All institutions should have mandatory in-house or access to professional counseling

resources with regular individual and group level counseling services provision in Homes to handle emotional, socialisation and disciplinary problems.

 Counselors, psychologists and medical staff should ensure that they are alert to signs of

physical /mental abuse during check-ups and counseling sessions and refer concerns to


 All Homes should have access to dedicated, specialised rehabilitative resources and facilities for children with special needs including mandatory access to de-addiction centres.

5 . Institutional Mechanisms

Schools are identified as the main site where corporal punishment has assumed endemic

proportions. Authoritative relationships between teachers and children, legitimized by the

existing system of education are an extension of the adult hegemony over the child. Teachers

and heads of schools work together to discipline children with the aim to cultivate desirable

behaviour, inculcate morals and values and ensure academic performance – the unstated yet

widely practiced aim of schooling.

Common sites of corporal punishment are schools, homes, destitute and juvenile homes,

crèches, day care centres, aganwadis and balwadis, work places of children and non-formal

centres of education. An appropriate institutional framework ought to create mechanisms

for addressing the variety of adults (parents, care takers, balwadi workers) engaged with

children apart from teachers and a redressal mechanism for children who are victims of

corporal punishment.

5.1. Reaching Out to Children:

 Universalising the Child Help Line Service – 1098 – in all States and districts for children

to approach in the event of any measure of corporal punishment on the individual child or peer. This should be established as a telephone line and a PO Box number, both of which should have an identical number that would be easy for children to recall. The telephone service should be available toll-free from all telephone lines. This number should be widely displayed by the State Departments of Education in schools, institutes of education and offices and through an official communiqué to every concerned institution. Written announcements to this effect should be made at the time of admissions in all schools. The community radio can also be used for this purpose.

 Developing sensitivity towards children and exercising restraint in reprimanding children resorting to physical beating, can be achieved through a short daily activity during school assembly. This can take the form of singing select songs that express sensitivity towards children, reading news about children, celebrating an achievement of children or children reading a piece of poetry or thoughts.

5.2 Provision in School Textbooks

 A precise statement on the ‘rights of the child’ along with the provision of a Child Help

Line Service should be printed on the first page of every textbook that children use from Class IV onwards, so that it is easily accessible to any child.

 Social Science and Language textbooks can have a chapter devoted to the issue with

available information on redressal mechanisms.

- Advocacy against Corporal Punishment

 Social advertising should be led by NCPCR in collaboration with NCERT, MHRD and

State Education Departments.

 Institute annual events around this theme to be followed up with conventions and seminars amongst teachers/parents and institutes of teacher education such as BEd

colleges and DIETs. Schools and teachers can be selected for giving awards for creating alternative methods of disciplining children.

5.3 School-Society Watch

 To support the mechanism for redressal available for children and to combat the problem amongst teachers and other adults, a dedicated group of young journalists can be established whose job would be to investigate and follow up reported cases of corporal punishment.

 This group of journalists should be from within the print and multi-media.

 A dedicated time on select TV channels can also be allocated for the reporting of such

investigated cases. This will act as a society-watch mechanism that deters teachers and other adults from indulging in the physical beating of children.

 This mechanism can be suitably linked to available academic Research

Institutions/NGOs/ University Departments (Education, Social Sciences, Social Work, Women’s Studies) that can maintain a documentation of cases with critical reflections and commentary. Documents of this kind can be disseminated for use by researchers as well as for purposes of training during pre-service and in-service programmes of teacher education.

6. Campaign and Advocacy

The multi media package may consist of an album of multi-coloured illustrations in the form

of exemplar ideas for posters, charts, calendars, advertisements, drawings, cartoons, comics,

quizzes, with catchy phrases, slogans, quotations as well as some audio video spots for conveying messages against corporal punishment. A dummy album may be got prepared by

an advertising agency and the ideas for preparing posters, charts, hoardings, calendars etc.

can be drawn from that album. The ideas may be woven around.

1. Raising consciousness of parents and teachers about self defeating and negative

consequences of corporal punishment and futility of its use.

2. Enabling reflection on, “use of corporal punishment as a deterrent” and looking for

alternative ways of handling situations.

3. Advocating the need for refrain and management of anger, acts of violence, verbal

aggression in day to day life as children emulate the adults and ultimately learn violence

as a tool to control situations.

7. Guidelines issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Banning corporal punishment

Since the time schools have reopened this academic session, there have been news items on the ghastly violence on children in schools. For example in Rajasthan the report was on the death of a student two days after the school teacher beat him up; in Andhra Pradesh the report was on how a school teacher subjected her students to electric shock, with full support and even justification given by the school head master. These are not isolated instances but manifestations of a culture of violence and insensitivity to children and their rights.

Children due to fear are often silent and submit to violence without questioning. They sometimes show signals of deep hurt in their behavior but this goes unnoticed, perpetuating further violence on them.

Corporal punishment involves, rapping on the knuckles, running on the school ground, kneeling down for hours, standing up for long hours, sitting like a chair, and beaten with a scale, pinched and slapped, child sexual abuse, torture, locking up children alone in classrooms, ‘electric shock’ and all other acts leading to insult, humiliation, physical and mental injury, and even death. It is being noticed that corporal punishment in schools both government as well as private is deeply ingrained as a tool to discipline children and as a normal action. All forms of corporal punishment are a fundamental breach of human rights. A slap is as detrimental to the child’s right as grievous injury. Indeed there are no gradations since it must be seen that condoning so called ‘small acts’ actually lead to gross violations. It is also legally impermissible. The Supreme Court has banned corporal punishment for children on December 1 2000 when it directed the State to ensure “that children are not subjected to corporal punishment in schools and they receive education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear”. Children are as human and sensitive as adults are, if not more. They need to be secure with a caring atmosphere. Practising non-violence as a highest form of culture begins with seeing children as children. It is necessary for adults to behave with them in a manner that they are not subject to violence and hurt of any kind. In a way fostering such a culture will develop adults as responsible adults who would in turn be vigilant and question those that are breaking the norms of respecting childhood.

It is in this context, that the onus of responsibility in safeguarding children from punishment lies with the schools teachers, education administration at all levels as well as all those responsible for management equally. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights directs the education departments of all the States to ensure the following:

1. All children are to be informed through campaigns and publicity drives that they have a right to speak against corporal punishment and bring it to the notice of the authorities. They must be given confidence to make complaints and not accept punishment as a ‘normal’ activity of the school.

2. Every school, including hostels, JJ Homes, shelter homes and other public institutions meant for children must have a forum where children can express their views. Such institutions could take the help of an NGO for facilitating such an exercise.

3. Further a box where children can drop their complaints, even if anonymous has to be provided for in each school.

4. There has to be a monthly meeting of the PTAs or any other body such as the SEC/VEC to review the complaints and take action.

5. The PTAs are to be encouraged to act immediately on any complaints made by children without postponement of the issue and wait for a more grave injury to be caused. In other words the PTAs need not use their discretion to decide on the grievousness of the complaint.

6. Parents as well as children are to be empowered to speak out against corporal punishment without any fear that it would have adverse effect on children’s participation in schools.

7. The education department at all levels-block, district and State are to establish procedures for reviewing the responses to the complaints of children and monitoring the action taken on the same suffering from some contagious disease. He is tense and anxious in case the goats are to die, what then would become of him? His brother would not give him food and he could not hope to do any other work.

Source: “Protection of children against corporal punishment in schools and institutions” prepared by NCPCR.