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Budget for Children in Union Budget

The  budget for children work (BfC) in India began in 2000 with a decadal analysis of the Union Budget by HAQ. Since then HAQ has been involved in Union budget analysis on regular basis. HAQ does a quick analysis of the Union budget every year on the day it is presented in the Parliament which is then distributed and circulated to the media across the country within 24 hours of the budget being presented. Simultaneously, the data is collected and collated from the detailed demands from grants from grants of various ministries of the government, which enables a much more comprehensive analysis of the budget and forms the mainstay of HAQ’s trend analysis over the years (the first year was a decadal analysis in which the child had been defined as 0-14 years; and the following ones have been seven-year and five-year trend analyses (wherein the child was defined as a person upto 18 years following the coming into force of the Juvenile Justice Act that changed the definition of the child).

The BfC data has been used by NGOs and movements/ campaigns to lobby with the government; by HAQ to advocate for governments to re-examine allocations and expenditure for children in general and for child protection in particular; by the Ministry of Women and Child, Government of India in its submissions to the UN, its own documentation; as well as to the Planning Commission; and by the Planning Commission for the Eleventh Five Year Plan. One of the most important outcomes of advocacy around the low allocations for child protection was the formulation of the Integrated Child Protection Services, which although has received allocations, is yet to be implemented by the government. Although the ministry had announced it would do child budget analysis in October 2006, the Finance Minister never mentioned it in his speech nor was it there in the Finance Bill. It was only in 2008 that the Finance Minister announced a separate statement on budget for children in his Finance Bill. This is a very positive step and a huge endorsement by the Government.

The MWCD based its framework of planning for a protective environment, which was been adopted by the Planning Commission for a new scheme for child protection called Integrated Child Protection Scheme.

As part of the BfC exercise, some programmes are studied in greater detail such as the Integrated Child Development Services; the programmes for juvenile justice, and now the Integrated Child Protection Services. In the last report HAQ did a implementation and financial of the centrally sponsored programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in six states of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. Currently HAQ along with its partners in the states is doing an in-depth analysis of the schemes meant for implementation of Juvenile Justice System along with an implementation status of Integrate Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).