Nine is mine
The NINEISMINE campaign grew out of Nelson Mandela’s call to ordinary citizens to keep governments accountable to fulfilling the MDGs. Children in India took upon themselves the task to ensurethe fulfillment of Goals 2 and 3 and 4 – all of which refer to children. Later the campaign grew to realize the exclusion issue of children particularly in the context on India. They, therefore,incorporated a strong focus on the “last child”. However, keeping alive the need to ensure that allsections of India (the children of privileged middle-class and excluded communities) all interact together to find common solutions. The NINEISMINE campaign believes that “Child rights abusesanywhere are a concern for children everywhere”.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe that the children are not the future citizens of the country, but the present citizens. When you support Nineismine's work, you help us build a better present for children.
Nine is Mine is a participatory children’s advocacy initiative for children, by the children and of children to call for 9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product to be committed to health (3 per cent) and education (6 per cent) as promised by the Common Minimum Program of 2004. This initiative is led by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) - a national campaign to hold India accountable to its promise to end poverty and social exclusion - towards meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
While the focus of the campaign remains a clear one-point agenda of budgetary allocations on health and education, the issues of exclusion, vulnerability and children’s participation in governance accountability and citizenship today remain central to the campaign.
India’s signing of the Millennium Declaration proved to be an appropriate context. Millennium Development Goals 2, 3 and 4 provided the right focused on children’s issues. (2+3+4=9)
Goal 2 of the Millennium Declaration aspires towards ensuring that every child receives a complete course of primary education:
Millennium Development Goal 3 invites nations to address gender discrimination.
Apart from Directive Principles of State Policy that provide for free and compulsory education to children till the age of fourteen, the 1986 Kothari Commission recommended 6 per cent of the GDP be spent on education to fulfill the Constitutional promise. The Tapas Mazumdar Committee (1999), recommended increased spending to almost 10 per cent of the GDP for the subsequent decade. UPA 1 included this in its Common Minimum Programme. The Right to Education Act, 2009 promises eight years of free and compulsory (quality) education to every child as a fundamental right. However, millions of children eligible under this act continue to be out of school while millions continue to work as child labourers. Millennium Development Goal 4 commits us to reducing child mortality.
With a dismal 1 per cent public spending on health until recently, WHO (2007-09) ranked India 171 out of 175 nations of the world. It rose to 2-3 per cent under UPA 1. The 12th Five Year Plan proposes to raise spending to 2.5 per cent by 2016-17. Presently 42 per cent of our children are still underweight.
Child Rights in India
A submission for the 13th Session of the Working Group for the Universal Periodic Review of India (May 2012) was made by 18 young Nine is Mine activists from North East India – nine of whom live with disabilities.
The children travelled from Shillong to New Delhi from 13th November 2012 (the Day of the Deprived Child) to 20th November 2012 (Child Rights Day). Along the way they held ‘Children’s Hearings’ in nine states on the state of child rights in India.
At the end, it made 169 recommendations (17 were a result of direct intervention of the Nine is Mine campaign). Some of these are:
That our government invites the special Rapporteur on the sale of children and child prostitution.
That no school be occupied by the Army or police.
That the government keeps its promise of allocating 9 per cent of GDP for education and health by 2014.
That India has one quality and equal system for all children across the country.
That there be zero tolerance for discrimination based on religion, region, caste, disability, etc.
That all parents be given access to work with just salaries.
That commissions for the protection on the rights of the child be set up in all States and Districts.
That children with disabilities receive specialised care within the framework of mainstream education.
That both infrastructure and information be made ‘barrier free’ particularly to children with disabilities.
The Nine is Mine campaign endorses the need to address issues of gender discrimination and all kinds of inequity to any vulnerable group of children. The selected educational statistics of MHRD 2010 revealed that while 62 per cent of all those enrolled in primary schools drop-out before completing ten years of schooling, the drop out level for girls (64 per cent), Scheduled Castes (71 per cent) and Scheduled Tribes (79 per cent) is progressively higher. In terms of child mortality too while the national average is 59 (deaths per thousand live births) for Scheduled Castes (88) and Scheduled Tribes (96) it is glaringly higher. l