HAQ and other Child Rights NGO’s bemoan the fate of children in the 2011-2012 Union Budget…some silver linings though..

What's there for the aam baccha, asks Haq – Centre for Child Rights
Trithesh Nandan | March 1, 2011

Different NGOs working with children are uhappy with the budget for having failed to earmark anything towards safeguarding child rights.

The budget has precious little for children other than the marginal increase of funds for the education sector. Several 11th plan goals have been diluted by the funds alloctaion, says Haq – Centre for Child Rights, a Delhi-based NGO.

Child nutrition, educating the girl child and reducing maternal mortality have not being given adequate address in this budget.

For child protection, the union budget has just offered only 240 crores, a meagre increase from the last year. “How does the finance minister justify a fall in allocation of integrated child protection scheme (ICPS) in the face of a 19 percent increase in violence against children since 2007,” Haq said. In India, 100 million children are vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation, according to a survey.

Another failing of the budget has been in addressing the needs of the health sector with a focus on children.

“Within the ministry of health and family welfare (MOHFW), the share of children has gone down from 21.7 percent in 2010-11 to 17.56 percent in the current budget.”

The immunisation programme has also not given adequate coverage in the budget even when the country has falied some of the global eradication goals.

“There is 18 percent decline in allocations for immunization and 93.5 percent in allocation for pulse polio,” the NGO commented.

A paltry allocation of 100 crores to the national nutrition mission which addresses maternal and child malnutrition in 200 most backward districts will serve little purpose, according to the Save the Children, an independent child rights organisation that works over 120 countries around the world. “This is a distressingly low figure considering the fact that almost 50 per of children under five are malnourished in the country,” said Thomas Chandy, CEO, Save the Children. 

The integrated child protection scheme (ICDS), the only comprehensive education and health scheme for children below six, gets Rs. 9294.19 crore, which is an increase of only 6.83 per cent over allocations in 2010-11, said Childs Rights and You (CRY).

“Considering India figures as a single country with nearly half – 42 percent of the world’s underweight children, an increase that is below the ten percent norm is a huge let down for zero to six year olds and mothers,” CRY said in a press release.

However, Save the Children praised government effort for the National Child Labour Project, which saw budgetary increase of 176 per cent.

Allocation for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which is a flagship programme for achievement of universalisation of elementary education, saw an increase of 40 percent in the budget. Haq said, “There is a very welcome increase in allocations for inclusive education for disabled children by almost 43 percent.”

– See more at: