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Child welfare scheme saw hike of 390%: Smriti Irani

Minister was responding to a tweet from Rahul Gandhi which cited a news report on allocations for children being slashed by half

February 22, 2022 10:34 pm | Updated February 23, 2022 01:19 am IST - New Delhi

Midday meal at an anganwadi near Vijayawada. File

Midday meal at an anganwadi near Vijayawada. File | Photo Credit: GIRI KVS

Union Minister Smriti Irani has said that a children-centric scheme of the government had seen a “390%” increase in budgetary allocations since 2014. She was responding to a tweet by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

On Monday, Mr. Gandhi retweeted a news report on “share” of budgetary allocation for children for the financial year 2022-23, and commented, “Modi government has jeopardised India’s future by halving the budget for child welfare.”

Ms. Irani, Minister for Women and Child Development, responded by sharing two bar graphs showing an increase in allocation for some of the schemes under her Ministry. One graph showed an increase of “390.66%” for Mission Vatsalaya (an umbrella scheme for child welfare and protection) for which allocations rose from ₹300 crore in 2013-14 to ₹1,472 crore in 2022-23.

Another graph showed an increase of “14.48%” for Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 (an umbrella scheme for nutritional development of children) for which ₹17,700 crore was set aside in 2013-14 compared to ₹20,263 crore for the next fiscal.

According to separate analyses of Statement 12 of the Budget on “allocations for the welfare of chidren” by two non-governmental organisations — HAQ Centre for Child Rights and CRY, the budget set aside for children may have increased in absolute terms, but the size of these allocations for financial year 2022-23 as a portion of the entire Budget was the lowest in 11 years.

Statement 12 records allocations specific to children across 19 Ministries.

HAQ’s analysis shows that between 2012-13 and 2022-23, the size of allocation for children’s welfare as a portion of the entire Budget declined from 4.76% to 2.35%, or in other words it shrank by 50%. Allocations for child health and child development for fiscal year 2022-23 saw a decline of 6% and 11%, respectively. And while the allocation for child education increased by 15%, its share in the entire budget saw a marginal increase of 0.3%.

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