Skip to main content

Decline in Union budget for eradicating child labour, encouraging girl child schemes

By Our Representative
A child rights civil society organization has regretted that though 37 per cent of the country’s population are children, Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s first full-time woman finance minister, did not refer to children at all in her speech in Parliament. Worse, said the Haq Centre for Child Rights (HCCR), the share of budget for children (BfC) in the Union Budget “has not been increased.”
This has happened despite the fact that the “Save the Children’s Global Childhood Report 2019” ranked India 113th of 176 countries in the childhood index. The analysis had found in India about 38% of children under five are stunted, which is “the second-worst performance in the region, the worst being Pakistan (40.8%). China was the best with 6% stunted children, followed by Nepal (13.8%), Sri Lanka (17.3%), Bangladesh (17.4%) and Bhutan (19.1%).
Pointing out that “despite efforts at giving free universal education, about 20% of children (aged 8-16) were still out of school as of 2018”, the HCCR analysis titled “Children in the Trillion Dollar Economy”, said, “The share for children in this budget remains at 3.2 percent of the total Union Budget, which is less than the equally low share that the National Plan of Action for Children 2016 had recommended.”
The HCCR analysis said, “Over the years this commitment has got diluted and the percentage of child budget has been continuing going down after it was 5.71 per cent in 2008–09”, insisting, child budget should be “at least 5 per cent of the Union Budget”.
It added, “The share of all the sectors, except child protection has been falling over the years. This can be traced back to the 14th Finance Commission recommendations, which said that the responsibility for allocating for children now is largely with the states.”
The analysis further stated, “While there are some major cutbacks, the reduction in the budget for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) and Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) is because of the creation of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan with an allocation of Rs 36,322 crore.”
Pointing out that this scheme is “meant to include teacher education”, the analysis said, “It has witnessed a total increase of Rs 5,109.49 crore, which is an increase of 16.4 per cent (calculated based on allocations for SSA, RMSA and teacher training last year)”, wondering, “Does that herald the right to compulsory education being extended to secondary education and 18 years?” 
BfC: Budget for Children. Int: Interim, FB: Full Budget
The analysis said, while the finance minister talked of “Naari tu Naarayani”, the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign has been allocated the same as the previous financial year – Rs 280 Crore. This has happened despite the fact that the Economic Survey 2018-19 recommended “incorporating insights from behavioural economics to change behaviour, giving credit to initiatives such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao for improving child sex ratios, particularly in large states where the child sex ratio was poor.”
The survey had claimed that the campaign “had the maximum impact in states that plausibly also needed the greatest pivot in their social norms”, even though facts show otherwise: Niti Aayog’s latest data on sex-ratio at birth “suggests a decline in 18 out of the 21 states for which data is analysed”, the analysis asserted.
Continued the civil society analysis, “With a new law enacted to address child labour, one would have expected to see resources being placed to ensure that there is elimination of child labour. Instead it is depressing to see the cutback in allocations for the only programme in the country addressing child labour – the improvement in working conditions of child/women labour (NCLP or National Child Labour Project) has been reduced by over 16 per cent.” 
“NCLP is the only scheme focused on addressing child labour in the country. It is a central sector scheme where 100% of the funding is provided by the Government of India through the Ministry of Labour and Employment”, the analysis contended.
The analysis continued, though an online portal, PENCIL, was launched on September 26, 2017 “for better monitoring and reporting system to ensure effective implementation of the provisions of the amended Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 and the National Child Labour Project (NCLP)”, the cost of implementing PENCIL as per the 2016 annual budget norms is just Rs 30 lakh per district. 
“This amounts to Rs 84.98 crore for 319 districts under PENCIL, assuming that all 319 districts do not have a vehicle, otherwise the cost would further go up”, the analysis said, adding, “With the NCLP budget going down in 2019-20, it only reinforces lack of commitment to address the problem and assumes that children working in family enterprises require no monitoring.”
No doubt, said the analysis, some schemes do see “substantial increase.” Thus, “there is a 1,400 per cent increase for scheme for boys’ hostel from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and 107 per cent increase in budget for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) is very welcome.”
However, the analysis added, “In all probability the cost of child protection has gone up over the years with the cost every other service escalating.”
Then, said the analysis, “While the budget for anganwadi Services has increased from Rs 16,334.88 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 19,834.37 crore in 2019-20, the target set for number of anganwadis sanctioned in 2019-20 remains the same. Despite a 21.4 per cent increase in the allocation for anganwadi services, the only expected output is operationalisation of an additional 20,000 anganwadis.”

Comments

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.