There have been media reports for a number of years concerning the lack of child care in India. Urban India is a rapidly changing place, with more and more women going out to work, rather than staying home. Those without extended family support are caught between a rock and a hard place, when it comes to earning a living in modern India and having a family. Very few companies offer their staff facilities for child care. There needs to be much stronger growth in this area, with professional fulltime child care being made more widely available. India lags behind other nations globally, around this important issue. Child care in India: Crisis or Evolutionary Process?
Career Women in India Face Challenges
If women want careers in India, they either must have solid extended family support networks, or they will have to take several years off, whilst their children are very young. There is virtually no infant care available for working mums in this country. There are plenty of untrained people available to move into this area, but there needs to be proper training, if we are to have a high standard child care that parents can trust with the safety and wellbeing of their children. A similar situation existed in countries like Australia and the US, where, now, the push is on for better trained and higher paid child care workers.
Central Government & Community Creche Dream
The central government, through the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is attempting to bring the dream of fulltime child care to working women across all strata of society. A national programme for creche and day care facilities is in the final drafting stages. A sliding scale of fees, dependent upon the income level of the parents has been proposed by the BPL. Preventing endemic corruption infecting this new industry is a major concern for government bodies.
Child Care Industry Evolution
Issues around things like the vulnerability of children to sexual abuse in the current ad hoc day care arrangements, occurring in low income areas, is driving the creche programme. The central government will fund 60% and the state governments 40% of the total cost of the programme roll out across India. Indian productivity may undergo a substantial boom, once this scheme is up and running. More women will be able to work across the country, and the education and wellbeing of Indian children will be improved, as the child care industry becomes more professional.