Wanted: a budget for children

Published on The Telegraph, Calcutta, by CHARU SUDAN KASTURI, June 15, 2009.

New Delhi, June 15: India’s apex child rights panel has asked the finance minister to ensure that all arms of the government allocate a specified chunk of resources for children in the coming budget.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked Pranab Mukherjee to direct all ministries to create for the first time a “child budget” from within their allocated funds, starting from the 2009-10 financial year.

In a letter, commission chairperson Shantha Sinha has suggested that the finance ministry follow a model similar to the gender budgeting initiative begun two years ago.  

She has urged Mukherjee to outline child budgeting as a priority in his budget speech.

“The idea is that within their allocated funds, each ministry sub-allocate a chunk specifically for child-centric programmes. This will ensure that a minimum amount of money is spent on the Indian child,” Sinha told The Telegraph …

… Several NGOs working on child rights have repeatedly proposed child budgeting within the overall budget. Some like the HAQ Child Rights Centre annually scrutinise budget papers to evaluate the government’s financial commitment to children.

The UN has also been urging countries to adopt a child budgeting policy to ensure that the young are not neglected.

“It is critical that we first accept child budgeting as an important ingredient of our budget. We have requested that child budgeting provisions be made in the finance minister’s speech. A minimum allocation can be discussed later,” Sinha said. (full text).

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