Child welfare has been reduced to a two-penny affair. At least that is what the Union Budget makes it look like — for every Rs 1,000 that this budget will spend, child protection share will be two paise.
Almost half of the country’s population — 44 per cent — is children but Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee has reduced the money for their welfare by about a per cent from 5.21 per cent in the last fiscal.
“It is clear that our politicians don’t want to build employable citizens for 12 million jobs it is promising,” said Bharati Ali, of Delhi-based NGO HAQ for Child Rights.
The biggest setback for child rights groups is the cut in funds for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. Aimed at setting up child protection units in each district, the scheme has only been given Rs 66 crore against last year’s Rs 220 crore.
Inability of women and child development ministry to sign agreements with some states for setting up child protection societies led to the cut in funds.
These societies are set up to ensure that children in conflict with law are not treated like other criminals, and street children are rehabilitated in a proper manner.