NATIONAL

Outlay for child welfare sees a meagre increase

Health allocation has shown a decline of 0.39%

The outlay for children in the Union Budget has shown a marginal increase of 0.05%, going up from 3.24% in the last fiscal to 3.29% in the current fiscal with a grant of Rs. 91,644.29 crore.

The share is less than the low share of 5% that the National Plan of Action for Children, 2016, has recommended, notes the HAQ Centre for Child Rights.

A detailed analysis of the budgetary grant carried out by Child Rights and You for four thematic areas of child rights, including education, health, development and child protection, shows that the first two categories have registered a decline while the money allocated for the ambitious plan for nutritional development may be insufficient.

Minor rise

The share of education has increased marginally to 68.54% from 68.2%, but has declined by more than 10 percentage points from 79.02% in 2015-16. These include schemes such as Samagra Shiksha, National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti.

Health-related financial allocation as a share of the child health budget has shown a decline of 0.39% — from 3.9% last fiscal to 3.51%.

The Anganwadi services and the Poshan Abhiyan (Nutrion Mission) are among the most important government programmes aimed at reducing stunting, under-weight, anaemia and low birth weight. While the former has registered an increase of 19% and the latter of 14% in this latest Budget announcement, experts have argued it is inadequate.

Activists are unhappy with the cut back of 16% for the National Child Labour Project Scheme.

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