In the Union Budget 2020, the total budget for children witnessed a decline of 0.13 percent (absolute) compared to last year, from 3.29 percent (BE) to 3.16 percent (BE).
The Union Budget 2020-2021 is strongly focused on three thematic areas – aspirational India, economic development for all and caring society including the rural sector and women entrepreneurs.
Yet, the considerations of children, their rights and aspirations, clearly lacked priority as the proportion of Child Budget in the overall Union Budget hit the lowest in the last five years at a paltry 3.16 percent.
The total Budget for Children witnessed a decline of 0.13 percent (absolute) compared to last year, from 3.29 percent (BE) to 3.16 percent (BE).
This is showing a continuous declining trend of the last 5 years with the allocations at Rs. 91644.29 crores in comparison to 2018-19’s allocation figures of Rs. 96042.43 crores allocated for children.
Only a few child-focused schemes have witnessed some changes including the ICDS and Poshan Abhiyan. Again, the ICDS scheme has increased from Rs. 19427.75 (BE 2019-20) to Rs 19916.41 (BE 2020-2021), while the Poshan Abhiyan has received an allocation of Rs. 3700, an increase of Rs 300 crore from last year’s sum of Rs. 3400 crores.
Meanwhile, child protection, in a climate of overwhelming safety concerns has remained stagnant, while the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme has witnessed a decrease in allocations despite it was lauded.
As per the FM’s Budget speech, “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has given tremendous results and Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is now higher for girls than for boys at all levels.”
Though U-DISE data of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 shows that GER of girls has increased than boys, but analysis of the enrolment ratio of only girls of both the years clearly highlights that GER of girls across all levels shows a declining trend.
School education allocations, in fact, belie the hopes inspired via the Ministers’ speech, with Rs. 59,368.00 crore allocated for school education. The increase over last years’ allocation amounts to Rs. 3295.55 crore, in three prominent schemes i.e., Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan, Kendriya Vidyalaya Samiti and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti. For tribal children, though the monies for a post-matric scholarship for ST students have been withdrawn.
However, the government acknowledged the linkage between early marriage and Maternal Mortality Rate and inter-generational nutritional deficiencies. The proposal to set up a task force in this regard is a welcome step.
To sum up, the Budget for children is not so different and definitely not adequate.
Above reaction is attributed to Priti Mahara, Director, Policy Research and Advocacy, CRY – Child Rights and You