UNION BUDGET DISAPPOINTS CHILDREN AGAIN, SAYS CRY

Key allocations in education, ICDS, protection, fall far below requirements

February 28, 2011, New Delhi: Child Rights and You has expressed its disappointment over the allocations for children in the Union Budget 2011-2012.
The allocations on elementary education have been increased to Rs. 29129.55 crores, an increase of 16.21 per cent over the last year (2010-11). So, the Finance Minister’s claim of a 24 percent increase in allocations for education is not applicable to elementary education. As for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the allocation in 2011-12 is Rs. 20999.78 crores, over last year’s revised estimate Rs. 18999.10 crores. Thus it is an increase of only 10.53 per cent as against Finance Minister’s claim of a 40 per cent increase.

Another thing to note is that this increase is coming from the Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh (from the education cess) The government’s own allocation for education has gone down from Rs. 7769.10 crore (Revised Estimate 2010-11) to Rs. 7096.15 crore (Budget Estimate 2011-12).

The ICDS scheme, the only comprehensive education and health scheme for children below six, gets a total of Rs. 10330.00, including Rs. 1035.81 crores for the North Eastern states, which is an increase of only 17.04 per cent over allocations in 2010-11, an amount vastly insufficient for the kind of requirement we have as a country. Considering India figures as a single country with nearly half – 42 percent of theworld’s underweight children, an increase that is below the ten percent norm is a huge let down for zero- to six-year olds and mothers.

On children’s right to protection, the 11th Plan Outlay had promised Rs. 1073.00 Crore for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme for five years (2007-08 to 2011-12) and Rs. 45.00 crores for three schemes to be integrated with the ICPS. So the ICPS should have got a total of Rs. 1118.00 crore over the last 4 years. The allocation for the last plan year – this year – is Rs. 243 crores. So, the allocations, totals up to Rs. 819.85 crores only, Rs. 298.15 crores less than the Rs. 1118 crores promised. This is again a setback for implementing child protection norms in keeping with child rights promises made.

Allocation on ICPS and other schemes to be subsumed under it (2007-08 to 2010-11) In Rs. Crore

Scheme 2007-08 (RE) 2008-09 (RE) 2009-10 (RE) 2010-11 (BE) 2010-11 (RE) 2011-12 (BE) Total over 11th Plan
ICPS 38.50 54.00 44.00 270.00 88.00 243.00 737.5
Shishu Griha + Programme for Street Children + Programme for Juvenile Justice 33.48 33.57 15.30 0.00 0.00 0.00 82.35
Total 71.98 87.57 59.30 270.00 88.00 243.00 819.85

RE – Revised Estimate
BE – Budget Estimate
Source: Expenditure Budget Volume II, Ministry of Women and Child Development, GoI, various years.

Speaking about the budgetary allocations, CRY’s CEO Puja Marwaha said, “We expected the government to stand up to the promises it made to India’s children by signing the UN’s Child Rights Convention 18 years ago. But once again, the budget shows a minimalist approach towards children’s rights. We cannot resolve large scale problems that affect upto 70% of India’s children unless the country’s policy makers stand up for what is right for India’s children.”

Note to the Editor:
CRY- Child Rights and You is India’s leading advocate for child rights. Over 30 years CRY has partnered NGOs, communities, government and the media to eliminate the root causes of deprivation, exclusion, exploitation and abuse thus ensuring all children their right to a childhood. To know how you can partner CRY visit us onhttp://www.cry.org/

For more information, please contact: Bidisha Fouzdar 9833565401bidisha.fouzdar@crymail.org