On an average, children received a mere 4.45 paise out of every Rs.100 allocated in the Union budget from 2004-05 to 2008-09. Even as India is hailed worldwide as one of the fastest growing economies, it seems to neglect its children, who constitute 42 per cent of the population.
Not only are children's issues, especially health, nutrition and security, falling off the radar, much of what little is allocated is not being spent at all. In actual spending, children's share in the Union budget has come down further, to 4.12 paise.
More striking is the fact that this share has increased very slowly, from less than 3 per cent in the previous decade, despite huge allocations in the current decade for education (the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) and development (the Integrated Child Development Scheme).
This is one of the findings of a Budget for Children (BfC) analysis, conducted by HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, over the five-year period. The Union budget and budgets of six States were analysed for the purpose.
Of every Rs.100 allocated in the Union budget, education programmes get Rs.2.90. That may seem small but not, given that health and development programmes receive less than one rupee each.