02, Feb 2018 | HAQ Centre of Child Rights
At 11 AM on February 1, 2018, the Finance Minister presented Union Budget2018-19 to the country. He presented it as the budget for #NewIndia. India’s 37% children (below the age of 18 years) are part of this new India.
Madam, while making the proposals in this year’s Budget, we have been guided by our mission to especially strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors of Indian economy. I am sure the New India which we aspire to create now will emerge.
Budget Speech by Shri Arun Jaitley
As always, the allocations for children are presented in Statement 12 of the Expenditure Budget (this used to be Statement 22 till 2016-17).
Inclusion of new schemes in Statement 12 in 2018-19
It is interesting to see how the number of ministries and the number of schemes that are getting added into the Statement every year.
This year’s additions are from the Ministry of Culture and includes:
- Central Institute of Buddhist Studies
- Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies
- Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies
- Promotion of Arts and Culture
- Zonal Cultural Centres
How any of them fit into budget for children remains a mystery!
Additionally there is an inclusion from the Ministry of Science and Technology- INSPIRE AWARD (MANAK).
- Fall in share for children despite new schemes included in Statement 12
Despite the inclusion of the new schemes, there is a fall in the over all share for children in 2018-19 budget. In fact, there has been a consistent fall in the share and one of the reasons attributed to this has been the fiscal devolution that puts the onus of allocating budgets for child related schemes to the states.
- Sectoral Share for Children in the Union Budget
As always, Education has received the largest share and Protection the least and the share remains the same as last year (0.05%). This despite an almost 12 percent increase in Child Protection Scheme in 2018-19.
|Sectoral Share in Union Budget Over the Years|
|Year||Health BE||Development BE||Education BE||Protection BE||Other than BfC|
The Finance Minister in his speech said- Only Swasthya Bharat (healthy India) can be Sammriddha Bharat (Prosperous India). And yet, the share of allocations for child health in the budget does not reflect that. In fact, the share of child health has only fallen over the years only to increase by one percentage point this year.
The share of education sector for children within the Union Budget has also seen a decrease despite the increase in allocations for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan.
|Sectoral Share within BfC|
|Year||Health BE||Development BE||Education BE||Protection BE|
Increase in Allocations in the Budget
- There is an 11.8 % increase in the budget for Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Some of the important schemes for children that have seen a welcome increase are:
|Scheme||2016-17||2017-18||Increase in percent|
|Schemes for Adolescent girls||460||500||8.7|
|Child Protection Scheme||648||725||11.9|
|National Nutrition Mission||1,500||3,000||100.0|
- There is a welcome 100% increase in National Nutrition Mission in the light of the fact that the World Bank has estimated that India is one of the highest-ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. According to the World Bank, the prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of Sub Saharan Africa. Moreover, the 2017 Global Hunger Index(GHI) Report ranked India 97th out of 118 countries with a serious hunger Amongst South Asian nations, it ranks third behind only Afghanistan and Pakistan with a GHI score of 29.0 (“serious situation”).
- There is 11.2% increase in the allocation for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. It would be pertinent to ask how much of this will come from the increased cess (now 4%) and how much will be from the government’s existing resources?
- The small increase in Rashtriya Madhamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) is particularly worrying in the light of the findings of the ASER report this year which has concentrated on the 14-18year age group and found:
- About 25% of this age group still cannot read basic text fluently in their own language.
- 53% of all 14 year-olds in the sample can read English sentences. For 18 year-old youth, this figure is closer to 60%. Of those who can read English sentences, 79% can say the meaning of the sentence.
- Even among youth in this age group who have completed eight years of schooling, a significant proportion still lack foundational skills like reading and math.
- The enrollment gap between males and females in the formal education system increases with age. There is hardly any difference between boys’ and girls’ enrollment at age 14; but at age 18, 32% females are not enrolled as compared to 28% males.
- A substantial proportion of youth in the 14-18 age group are working (42%), regardless of whether they are enrolled in formal education or not. Of those who work, 79% work in agriculture – almost all on their own family’s farm. Also, more than three quarters of all youth do household chores daily – 77 % of males and 89% of females.
- There is only a very small increase of 5% in Mid-day meal scheme.
- The 11.9 % increase in the Child Protection Scheme is indeed welcome, especially since child protection continues to receive the least share of the resources.
Some Schemes that have seen a Reduction in Allocations
- Nirbhaya Fund has received no increase in allocations at all. And this despite the 12.3 % increase in rapes of women and girls in 2016 over the last year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- Allocation for Post Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Castes has been cut by 10.4%
- The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana has been cut by 11.1%. Given the large number of adolescent girls who become under age mothers, a cut in the scheme raises concerns.
 The World Bank (2009). Retrieved 2009-03-13. World Bank Report on Malnutrition in India