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Ashpreet Sethi, Mar 18, 2012, DH News Service:
Delhi child rights groups oppose 18 per cent fall in allocation of funds for protection of children in this year's budget compared to last year. Nearly 5.3 per cent of the Union budget is allocated towards children's well being referred to as “Budget for Children (BfC)”.
Budget 2012-13 has allocated only 0.4 per cent of the BfC towards protection of children.
“This is disappointing, since after recognition that protection sector had received last year, there had been a consistent increase in allocation in this regard.
It might have been small but there was growth,” said Madhumita Purkayastha from HAQ, Centre for Child Rights NGO.
There is a 64.6 per cent increase in the allocation for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme from Rs 186 crore to Rs 400 crore.
“This is indeed important given that even after the XIth five year plan period has ended, states are yet to implement the programme,” said Krishna Bansal, a child rights activist in Delhi.
Moreover, the education sector too has seen a decline of 0.1 per cent over last year.
“This is when over half of India’s children are either not attending school or dropping out before class eight.
It, however, still remains the most resourced sector as 3.6 per cent share of the budget and 67 per cent of the child welfare funds has been earmarked for education,” said Rajiv Kumar from Pardarshita NGO.
An analysis drawn by HAQ says that there is 60 per cent decline in allocation for National Child Labour Project which stands at Rs 135 crore.
This sector had shown an increase of 176 per cent in 2011-12.
“The government is simply trying to brush children-related issues under the carpet rather than confronting them. Majority of children in rural areas have been enrolled in schools on paper but they continue to work as labourers,” said Bhuvan Ribhu, lawyer-activist with NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan.
He added, “The question remains that is the government committed towards education and eradication of child labour with respect to measures of rehabilitation.
It is also an issue about what is the central government doing to assess states?”
The HAQ analysis says: “Given the government’s promises to pay attention to streamlining adoptions in the country, the reduction of 74.6 per cent in the allocation for the Central Adoption Resource Agency is disappointing.
There is large scale trafficking of children for adoption and hence there is an urgent need for stringent oversight and regulation.”