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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.