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Children have once again remained out of radar in Union Budget: CRY

Share of allocation dipped compared to 2022-23


Child Rights and You (CRY)--an organisation working for children’s rights–-has said that kids did not seem to be in focus in this union budget.

Reacting to the budget presented on Wednesday, Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY said, “While the Union Budget, on the whole, has tried to trace a robust roadmap towards inclusive growth for the country in the post-COVID times, children who constitute more than one-third of India’s total population seems to have largely remained out of its radar.”

Highlighting the positive aspects of the budget, she said, “Whereas child education and health segments have witnessed some incremental increase, allocation for Mission Vatsalya (that supports children through non-institutional care) has remained constant at Rs 1,472.17 crore in 2022-23 budget estimate (BE) and 2023-24 budget provisions.”

Allocations for Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 schemes (meant for care and nutritional support of children) have increased by around 1.44 per cent, from Rs 17,223.61 crore (2022-23) to Rs 17,471.16 crore (2023-24)-the increase in absolute numbers being Rs 247.55 crore. The Samagra Shiksha (education) budget has seen a minuscule increase, just by 0.19 per cent from Rs 37, 383.36 crore (2022-23) to Rs 37,453.47 crore (2023-24), with an increase in absolute numbers of Rs 70.11 crore,” Marwaha said.

“It’s indeed a positive news that the overall fiscal outlay in the union budget has increased 14.15 per cent from 22-23, and the total child budget has increased by Rs 11,054.20 Cr from 2022-23 (Rs 92,736.5 Cr) to 2023-24 (Rs. 103,790.70 Cr), but, a closer look at the fine prints clearly suggests that there has been a 0.05 per cent point decline in the share of allocation for child budget to the total budget, from 2.35 per cent (2022-23) to 2.30 per cent (2023-24). Further analysis reveals that, in reference to GDP, the percentage share of child budget to the GDP has declined to 0.34 per cent in 2023-24 when compared to 0.36 per cent in 2022-23,” Marwaha added. 

“In all, as the detailed budget allocations across child-centric programmes and initiatives suggest, it seems that the union budget will fail to reach the last mile when it comes to the overall development of the vulnerable children, residing under the shadows of multidimensional poverty,” Marwaha said.

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