Welfare Budget for children in State lowest

Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Nov 6 – During 2008-09 to 2013-14, on an average, only 4.85 per cent of the total Assam Budget was allocated for children of the State. While the share of children in other prominent Indian States has been increasing over the years, the Budget for children in Assam has witnessed a falling trend.

A study on ‘Budget for Children in Assam: 2008-09 to 2013-14’ carried out by North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati also concluded that the share for children in total Assam Budget has decreased from 5.17 per cent in 2008-09 to 3.49 in 2013-14.

The report of the study, which was released today in Guwahati, also stated that although the State earmarked an average allocation of Rs 7,501.36 crore from 2008-09 to 2013-14 there was an average expenditure of Rs 5237.3.1 during the same period.

Moreover, according to the study, there was an average under spending of 16.45 per cent in budget for children from 2008-09 to 2011-12 and the maximum under spending of 28.21 per cent was noted in 2008-2009 and in 2010-2011.

The report was released during, an interface on ‘Children’s Share in the State Budget – How is Assam Faring?, which was organized by North Eastern Social Research Centre in partnership with HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi.

The interface was attended by representative of various child welfare organisations, civil society organisations and officials from the State health and education departments and academicians.

Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, co-director, HAQ explained the need for evaluating the State Budget from children’s perspective because “children are not voters”.

Describing the Budget as “the most important political statement of the government”, she said that children are neglected and kept out of the political discourses of the State.

Minister for Social Welfare Akon Bora, who was also present on the occasion, expressed his concerns about the low allocations and cited the lack of proper infrastructure as the main reason.

Leena Das, Member Secretary, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Govt of Assam, Dr Melvin Pereira, Director, NESRC and Prof Virginias Xaxa, member NAC and Deputy Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati, were among other noted personalities present during the interface.