After gender budgeting, it is now the turn of child budgeting, with the Ministry of Women and Child Development demanding that the allocations for schemes for children be increased to at least Rs 10,000 crore.
Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury said she has taken up the issue of child budgeting or laying emphasis on expenditure on children's schemes with Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram as well as the Planning Commission.
"A total of Rs 10,000 crore is what I am looking at as an initial investment," Chowdhury told in an interview.
"I do believe that mine has to be a priority sector as this a growth sector. That is why it is more intelligent to spend in this area than in any other area," she said.
The total expenditure on child development schemes in 2005-06 was over Rs 3,550 crore or just 0.69 per cent of the total spending.
Chowdhury said she has also written to the state governments for the need for child budgeting.
The WCD Ministry in its annual report has noted that given that children under the age of 14 constitute over a third of the country's population, this proportion grossly underestimates the needs of children to grow, develop and build capacities that can serve them well in adulthood.
"I don't think adequate funds are being given to children's schemes. But the government must realise that it is cheaper to feed your children now than to check malnutrition later," Chowdhury said.