Enakshi Ganguly Thukral is pioneering a new field in governance and child citizenship. Her organization HAQ: Centre for Child Rights is using government allocations and budget analysis to fundamentally change the national policy on children and institute comprehensive and human rights oriented legislation and judicial practices.
Enakshi and her co-founder Bharti were first inspired by the dismal conditions of children in government custodial homes. While addressing the problem, Enakshi recognized that they needed to “build intersectional change between issues of child labor, education, health and categories such as street children, child prostitution, disabled children.” In order to fill that gap, HAQ became the first center to use extensive budget analysis to link the overarching layers of human rights to the reality of vulnerable children's needs. With the analysis as their evidence, they initiated what has become an annual report on Parliamentarians, which reveals whether and how the elected representatives were sensitized to the rights of children. Through this report, Enakshi was able to convince the representatives of the necessity to consider children as equal citizens and allocate appropriate resources for them.
Over the years, through its Children and Governance programme HAQ has developed innovative tools for monitoring the state’s performance in fulfilling its obligations to children’s rights such as child budget analyses, monitoring parliamentary questions and producing status of children reports.
Yet, Enakshi continued to fight for children’s rights and found that a second field HAQ needed to introduce was the rehabilitation of child offenders by law enforcement and the judicial system. Using the same, data backed strategy, HAQ has successfully advocated for and integrated rehabilitation-conscious training into the juvenile justice system. Further, HAQ also incorporated training on the delivery of child protection systems into the curriculum of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA).
In 2003, the Ministry for Women and Child Development (MWCD) began using HAQ’s analysis. In the following two years, through the MWCD, all states were doing a childrens budget. In 2008, HAQ created a memorandum for the Finance Minister pointing out that now all the states were producing a child budget, resulting in the central government creating a separate category for children in its budget. Enakshi was also a part of the review body for the planning commission of the Eleventh and Twelfth Plan and hopes to further establish childrens citizenship within the legal system.
Even as HAQ works on children and governance, it is utilizing its strength in evidence collection and advocacy to build traction in three critical areas in child protection: child marriage, child sexual abuse and the juvenile justice system. Through intensive on-the-ground operations, Enakshi monitors the implementation of existing laws and policies, and uses data-based evidence to improve governance systems and practices,at the district, state and national levels.
Note: This was updated August,2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile.