Only about 2.46 percent of the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been earmarked for children, which is the lowest such allocation for this age segment in the last decade, reveals an analysis by ‘HAQ: Centre for Child Rights’.
According to the report, children received the highest share in the 2012-2013 Union Budget, accounting for 4.76 percent of the then government’s Budget estimate.
Moreover, the report says that the share of child education has gone down from 2.18 percent in 2020-21 to 1.74 per cent in Union Budget 2021-22. The allocation for Samagra Shiksha too has been reduced by 19.87 percent, as compared to last year.
The data insights are based on an overall reduction in Budgetary allocation on education, which was slashed by over Rs 6,000 crore, as compared to the 2020-21 Budget.
Little Focus on Child Protection
Moreover, only 0.03 percent of the Union Budget is devoted to child protection, in terms of allocation of resources. According to data provided by NCRB, the number of crimes against children had increased by 4.5 percent to 1,48,185 in the year 2019.
“The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), one of the major flagship schemes had been merged under Child Protection Services. Now, in the Union Budget 2021-22, Child Protection Services and Child Welfare Services are merged to constitute what is being called Mission Vatsalya, which has received a total of Rs 900 crore,” the report said.
This is a huge shortfall of 40 per cent when measured against an allocation of Rs 1,500 crore for ICPS alone in Union Budget 2020-21.
What All Has Been Increased?
- The allocation for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme has received a 4.55 percent increase with a total outlay of Rs 11,500 crore in the Union Budget 2021-22.
- The NRHM-Flexible Pool under child health has observed an increase of almost 16 percent with a total outlay of Rs 3,459 crore in the Union Budget 2021-22.
- As per Overall Allocations for the Welfare of Children in Statement 12 of 2021-22, the financial outlays for the Department of School Education and Literacy (Demand No. 24) have reduced by 9.71 percent.