Last year, Telangana had capped school bag weight for primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary sections. Though the ministry of human resources development has not given a specific direction on the weight of the school bag on its own, it has asked the states to follow the Telangana model which has specific weight demarcations for student at different level, and has asked to formulate rules in their own states. Class 1 and Class 2 students should not carry bags weighing more than 1.5kg. Studies showed heavy loads can affect soft, developing spines.
In Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is, full schoolbags should not exceed 10% of the child’s body weight. A survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India on 2,500 children and 1,000 parents in major cities found 68% of pre-teen children might suffer from mild back pain which can develop into chronic pain and later into a hunchback. “My frail daughter has to haul about 4-5kgs of books in her school bag and also carry her lunch box and water bottle in a separate bag,” said a parent whose child goes to school in Uttar Pradesh state. Teachers have been asked to not give children in grades one and two homework so they do not need to carry heavy books home. The weight of the school bag has been in debate for years in India.