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The budget is the most concrete expression of the government’s intention, policies, priorities, decisions and performance. At the national level or at the state level, the budget is essentially a political rather than a technical instrument.
For HAQ, budget analysis fitted perfectly into its work of watching over and monitoring the state’s performance in all matters pertaining to the realisation of child rights. Such initiatives in budget analysis were already being undertaken in the country at state level with respect to Dalits, the tribal community and rural development etc.
However the focus on children was missing from any such analysis. The child budget work in India began in 2000 with a decadal analysis of the Union Budget by HAQ.
The decade of the 1990s marked many changes for India and it’s children. While India made some significant commitments towards ensuring children their basic rights, it also launched the era of liberal economic policies and globalisation. Both these events had an impact on children’s lives. It was therefore felt that a decadal analysis would produce a comprehensive picture of the government’s commitment towards children in terms of actual financial resource allocations.
Released in September 11, 2001, HAQ’s BfC analysis was the first endeavour of its kind in the country. The document established the need for such analyses and set the initial direction for developing a methodology to do this more effectively. Since then HAQ has been undertaking BfC analysis every year. Recognising the limitation of concentrating solely on the Union Budget, in 2002, HAQ decided to undertake BfC in the States as well.