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COMMENTARY

A Pittance for Our Children In our journey towards inclusive and


sustainable growth, however, we must
strive to include the last child in the
Union Budget 201718 remotest village. We need robust invest-
ment plans for our 434 million children
and the 236 million young people under
Komal Ganotra 30 years of age who will be looking for
jobs by 2021.1 Devoid of appropriate and

T
For the last 15 years, allocation to he first of February was just adequate financial allocations for chil-
the child budget has remained another mundane day in the remote dren and youth, the governments vision
tribal settlement of Satgawan. Neha and work towards rapid transforma-
stagnant at around 3% of the
Birhor and her friends were busy with tion is likely to be hampered.
union budget. This analysis points their morning breakfast, sattu ka laddu Over the last 15 years, the allocation
out why this amount is proving (gram flour cakes), and the Sevika Didi for children in the total union budget has
completely inadequate in (anganwadi worker) was setting about remained stagnant. In overall terms, the
preparing the khichdi (rice and pulses) budget has increased from `65,758.45
safeguarding the health, nutrition,
for their lunch at the government-run crore in 201617 to `71,305.35 crore in
education and protection of anganwadi for children. 201718.2 Yet, the proportion for children
Indias 434 million children. A few hundred kilometres away from has remained stagnant at 3.32% of the
this village in Kodarma district of union budget over the last two years, and
Jharkhand, an upbeat Finance Minister there has been a declining trend from
Arun Jaitley was about to enter Parlia- 201314 to 201718 (Figure 1, p 26).
ment to table the budget proposal for A mismatch between the governments
201718. By the end of the budget speech intent and its plan for children is evident
it was clear that the honourable finance from allocation trends over the last three
Komal Ganotra (komal.ganotra@crymail.org) minister had chosen to be oblivious to years. It is clear that the government has
is Director, Policy and Advocacy, Child Rights the needs of Neha and millions of other been making minimal allocations for a
and You.
children like her. section that constitutes 34% of the total
Economic & Political Weekly EPW JUNE 24, 2017 vol lIi nos 25 & 26 25
COMMENTARY

Figure 1: Child Budget as Percentage of Total Union Budget years; take-home rations for children
4.56 4.52 below three and expecting mothers; pre-
4.16 school non-formal education; nutrition
3.62 and health education; immunisation; and
3.26 3.32 3.32 regular health check-ups and referral
services for expectant and lactating
mothers and infants. This restructuring,
along with the plan to move to anganwadi-
cum-crches, laid greater emphasis on
childcare. At the policy level, the launch
in 2013 of the Early Childhood Care and
Education (ECCE) policy for children
under six emphasised the importance of
201314 RE l 201415 BE l 201415 RE l 201516 BE l 201516 RE l 201617BE l 201718 BE
investment in the foundational years.
BE = budget estimates or allocated amount stated at the time of union budget; RE = revised estimates, or estimates of
amount spent at the end of the previous year (from 2017 onwards, revised estimates would approximately be estimates of
Against these ambitious plans, there
expenditure incurred up to December, or early January). are currently 62,970 posts of anganwadi
Source: Child Rights and You (CRY) analysis of union budget.
workers that remain vacant3 and many
population, even though the plethora of Let us examine how this budgetary anganwadis lack adequate infrastruc-
schemes and policies rolled out on paper devolution and decentralisation will pan tural facilities, failing to provide quality
conjure up a grand vision of change. The out at the level of the state and local gov- preschool education and a safe and secure
state aims to create a near-perfect world ernance. How far will the allocations for environment for children. Thus, it is
for the Indian child, but the reality is child health, nutrition, education, and apparent that we are still struggling for
starkly different. The finance ministers protection go in bringing about sustain- a proper rollout of the restructured ICDS
speech spelt out the agenda to Transform, able change for Indias child population? mission, while the ECCE policy has barely
Energise and Clean (TEC) India through begun to percolate through the system.
effective governance and efficient ser- Universalisation of Anganwadis The problem of implementation is
vice delivery and peoples participation. In 1975, the government implemented the compounded by the fact that year-on-year
Effective governance and efficient ser- Integrated Child Development Services investment in ICDS has not seen any sub-
vices for children, however, will only be (ICDS) scheme, an ambitious scheme for stantial change. In the revised estimates
realised if we invest in human capital and children in terms of reach and impact. (RE) for the last two years, ICDS budget
allocate sufficient financial resources for Over the decades, the ICDS has gone utilisation decreased from `15,483.77 crore
this critical segment of the population. through a series of changes in terms of in 201516 to `14,375.6 crore in 201617
In budget 201516, based on the recom- spread and deepening of services. Today, it (Table 1). The allocation of `15,245.19
mendations of the Fourteenth Finance caters to 50% of the countrys child popu- crore in 201718 has been referred to as
Commission and greater devolution of lation below the age of six years. In 2005, an increase of `1,245 crore, when it is in
funds to the states, the centrestate ratio the Supreme Court asked the government fact less than the amount spent on ICDS
for contribution of funds for education to universalise anganwadi services. The in 201516. The total allocation for the
was brought down to 60:40 from 70:30 Twelfth Five Year Plan called for a restruc- ICDS scheme has been `78,203 crore,
(90:10 for the north-eastern and Hima- turing of the ICDS scheme in a phased against the `1,23,580 crore proposed
layan states). Budget 201718 adheres to manner, based on the criticality of dis- during the Twelfth Five Year Plan (a
the norms of increased devolution to the tricts, and an extension of its reach to all shortfall of `45,377 crore).
states, and places the onus and account- districts by 2015. The restructured ICDS Thus, the stated increase of `1,245 crore
ability for allocating resources for chil- package provides for six specific deliver- for ICDS, catering to the care, nutrition
dren on the state governments. In the ables: supplementary nutrition, including and education of 13.6 crore children
current administrative structure, large mid-morning snacks and hot cooked under the age of six years, is not as mag-
welfare schemes continue to be the main meal for children between three to six nanimous as it seems. The allocation is
vehicles through which services and Table 1: Allocation for Integrated Child Development Services Schemes (201516 to 201718) (` crore)
benefits reach children. With the changes Scheme Ministry 201516 RE 201617 RE 201718 BE Increase/
Decrease
resulting from budgetary devolution
Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS)
and decentralisation, there will be a anganwadi services MWCD 15,483.77 14,375.6 15,245.19 869.59 (+)
simultaneous requirement for state gov- National Nutrition Mission MWCD 65 39.25 1,100 1,060.75 (+)
ernments to redesign and customise World Bank-assisted ICDS systems strengthening
welfare schemes at the state level to and nutrition improvement programme MWCD 35.42 135.75 400 264.25 (+)
amplify their reach and make them Rajiv Gandhi National Crche Scheme for the children
of working mothers MWCD 144 150 200 50 (+)
more inclusive, without compromising BE = budget estimates; RE = revised estimates; MWCD = Ministry of Women and Child Development.
on the quality of services. Source: Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), Delhi.

26 JUNE 24, 2017 vol lIi nos 25 & 26 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
COMMENTARY

clearly insufficient to ensure universal Union Budget has allocated `1,100 crore incremental spending over these years.
coverage, let alone implementation of towards this, which makes us hopeful Components such as teacher training
the proposed anganwadi-cum-crches. that the mission may finally kick off this and investment in inspection and moni-
The finance minister also referred to an year. A revised version of the National toring constitute a minuscule part of the
allocation of `500 crore for setting up Nutrition Mission was proposed in 2016, school budget in all the states. The study
Mahila Shakti Kendras as part of angan- and was recommended by the Expendi- also revealed that the mid-day meal
wadi centres for womens empowerment ture Finance Committee. After the review (MDM) programme, an important com-
through skill development, employment, by NITI Aayog, the proposal is under ponent of the school education budget,
digital literacy, health and nutrition. consideration by the government.4 How- has remained stagnant for most states
However, budget documents indicate ever, the details of the revised mission barring Karnataka, where the share of
that the allocation for this would be are still not available in the public MDM in the school education budget
from the already restricted budget, not domain, making it difficult to predict increased from 8.2% in 201213 to 9.5%
an additional budget. how far the mission has come in terms of in 201516 (BE).
The additional budgetary investments reach and quality of nutrition standards. In Union Budget 201718, the major
by different states do not present a very school education schemesSarva Shiksha
encouraging picture either. Table 2 shows Child Education Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik
that after the implementation of the Education takes the largest chunk of the Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and MDMhave
Fourteenth Finance Commission recom- budget allocations for children. In the seen a token increase (Table 3). The SSA
mendations, not all states have prioritised 201718 budget, child education comprises scheme (focusing on children in the 614
investment in ICDS. Some relatively eco- 70.51% of the total child budget and by age group) got a massive fillip in priority
nomically powerful states like Maharashtra that calculation, about 2.34% of the GDP. and allocation after the passage of the
and Tamil Nadu have in fact reduced or Centre for Budget and Governance RTE Act 2009. Despite the initial increase
kept ICDS allocations stagnant. Accountability (CBGA) and Child Rights in budget, implementation of RTE still
While the Twelfth Plan document and You (CRY) recently released an analy- faces challenges with respect to infra-
spoke of the National Nutrition Mission sis of the school education budgets of all structure and other quality parameters.
to tackle malnutrition in the country, not states over the last four years201213 The approved outlay for SSA during the
much headway is evident. The 201718 actual expenditure (AE) to 201516 budget Twelfth Plan period (201217) as indicated
Table 2: Additional Allocation to ICDS by States estimates (BE). The analysis shows that of by the Planning Commission is `1,92,726
Following Change in Centrestate Ratios (` crore) the 2.68% of GDP for school education in crore, while the total achievement for the
State 201415 201516 201516 201617
AE BE RE BE
201516, elementary education accounted whole plan period amounts to `1,17,287
Bihar 1,853 1,760 1,918 2,216 for 1.55% and secondary education only crore (a deficit of `74,439 crore, or 38.6%).
Chhattisgarh 960 1,291 1,174 1,408 0.9% of GDP. The study also shows that The plan to universalise education by
Jharkhand 915 1,765 1,354 1,517 the poorer and educationally underper- focusing on secondary education in policy
Madhya Pradesh 1,974 2,608 2,283 2,653 forming states have accorded higher prio- debates was introduced by the Central
Maharashtra 2,712 2,916 3,463 1,307 rity to school education than the better Advisory Board of Education (CABE) com-
Odisha 1,582 2,074 1,255 2,264
performing states in the post-The Right mittee report in 2005. The RMSA was
Uttar Pradesh 5,022 5,313 5,280 5,798
Tamil Nadu 1,601 1,668 1,773 1,783
of Children to Free and Compulsory launched in 2009 with the objectives of
AE = actual expenditure; BE = budget estimates; Education (RTE) Act phase. Also, even in achieving 75% enrolment at the secondary
RE = revised estimates. the poorer states, it is secondary educa- level by 2015, universal access by 2017,
Source: Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability
(CBGA), Delhi. tion that has received more attention in and universal retention by 2020. While
Table 3: Allocation in School Education (201516 to 201718) (` crore)
Scheme Ministry 201516 RE 201617 RE 201718 BE +/
National Education MissionSarva Shiksha Abhiyan MHRD 2,2015.42 2,2500 23,500 1,000 (+)
National Programme of Mid Day Meals in schools MHRD 9,236.4 9,700 10,000 300 (+)
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan MHRD 3,278.47 3,987.25 4,300 312.75 (+)
National Education MissionRashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan MHRD 3,565 3,700 3,830 130 (+)
Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti MHRD 2,285.14 2,614.78 2,700 85.22 (+)
National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme MHRD 81.5 39.65 282 242.35 (+)
National Scheme for Incentive to girls for secondary education MHRD 112 45 320 275 (+)
Umbrella scheme for education of ST children Ministry of Tribal Affairs 1,260.17 1,659.84 1,635.07 24.77 ()
Pre-matric scholarship for minorities Ministry of Minority Affairs 1,040.00 931 950 19 (+)
Post-matric scholarship for minorities Ministry of Minority Affairs 580.1 550 550 0
Merit-cum-means scholarship for minorities Ministry of Minority Affairs 335 395 393.54 1.46 ()
Development of minorities: education scheme for madrasas/minorities MHRD 335.50 120 120 0
Post-matric scholarship for OBCs Ministry of social justice and empowerment 79.64 88.5 88.5 0
Pre-matric scholarship for SCs Ministry of social justice and empowerment 479.99 459 45 414 ()
BE = Budget Estimates; MHRD = Ministry of Human Resource development; OBC = Other Backward Classes; RE = revised estimates; SC = Scheduled Caste; ST = Scheduled Tribe.
Source: Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), Delhi.

Economic & Political Weekly EPW JUNE 24, 2017 vol lIi nos 25 & 26 27
COMMENTARY
Figure 2: Budgetary Allocation for Integrated Child Protection Scheme the education of Sched- Protection Scheme (ICPS) is one of the
(201314 to 201718) ( ` crore)
648 uled Tribe (ST) chil- largest schemes, with rescue and pre-
dren has been reduced vention built into it through implemen-
ICPS budgetary allocations in crores 597 (`24 crore). tation of various child protection legisla-
450
402.2 Indias present bud- tions. The increase in the ICPS budget has
397 getary spending on come after years of stagnation of the
270 400
300
education is inadequate scheme at approximately `400 crore. In
not just because it falls the RE for 201617, `597 crore was ref-
short of the benchmark lected, whereas only `397 crore was all-
recommended decades ocated for the scheme in the previous
201314 201314 201415 201415 201516 201617 201617 201718
ago by the Kothari year (Figure 2). Against this, the increase
BE RE BE RE BE BE RE BE Commission, but also in ICPS allocations to `648 crore is, in
BE = budget estimates; RE = revised estimates.
Source: CRY analysis based on union budget documents.
because of the paucity effect, an increase of only `50 crore as
of funds for almost all compared to the proclaimed increase of
the targets were progressive and ambi- important areas of public provisioning in `250 crore.
tious, the scheme has not been able to school education, be it availability of Recently introduced or revised policies
penetrate deeply at the state and district teachers and their training, monitoring of and legislations on child protection, such
level and the progress has been sluggish schools, interventions for children from as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protec-
due to under-allocation as well as under- marginalised sections, or for strengthen- tion of Children) Act, 2015, Trafficking of
utilisation of allocated budgets. India is ing community engagement with schools. Persons (Prevention, Protection and Reha-
still far from the targets of the RMSA, The paucity of funds is glaring in most of bilitation) Bill, 2016 and National Plan
with only 33 of every 100 children the poorer states. Inadequate school of Action for Children, 2016 need to be
enrolled managing to pass Class 12 age- infrastructure, teacher vacancies and backed by a financial memorandum in
appropriately.5 The allocation of `3,830 shortage of subject teachers (for upper order to realise their stated vision and
crore in budget 201718 to improve tran- primary) continue in specific states. objectives. They also face challenges of
sition rates from Classes 8 to 9 seems Figure 3: Rise in Cases of Crime Against Children (201015)
meagre. Unless we invest adequately in 45000
secondary education and make efforts to 40000
universalise it, a few years from now, we 35000
will have a young labour force number- 30000 Kidnapping and abduction
ing 236 million, but not necessarily one 25000
that is educated and skilled. 20000 Rape
It is also interesting to see that afford- 15000 Crimes under POCSO

ability-linked incentives were not priori- 10000


tised in Union Budget 201718, in which Murder Procuration of minor girls
5000
only two schemes of affordability-linked 0
incentives saw substantial increase 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
the National Means-cum-Merit Scholar- Source: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India
ship Scheme for economically weak chil- Also, a majority of out-of-school children adequacy of human resources, trained
dren (from `39 crore to `282 crore), and are from disadvantaged groupsSC, ST, personnel on the ground, and convergence
the National Scheme of Incentives to Muslims, migrants, children with spe- across various government ministries and
Girls for Secondary Education (SUCCESS) cial needs, urban deprived children, departments, particularly for the execu-
(from `45 crore to `320 crore, Table 3). working children, and children in other tion of the Prevention of Children from
While in this budget, the government difficult circumstances. An increase of Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, the
has clearly stated its focus on development `1,000 crore in SSA, `300 crore in MDM Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
of marginalised communities, the Minis- and `130 crore in RMSA (Table 3) will not and the Child Labour (Prohibition and
try of Social Justice and Empowerments be adequate to plug the quantitative and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016.
allocations for Scheduled Caste (SC) and qualitative gaps in school education. Crimes against children have increased
Other Backward Class (OBC) children are nearly four times in the last 10 years,
disheartening. The budget allocated for Investment in Child Protection and major crimes have increased sharply
pre- and post-matric fellowships and Child protection, including prevention of over the last five years6 (Figure 3). Kid-
hostels has decreased. The pre-matric exploitation and violence against children, napping and abduction of children,
scholarship for SC children has been has a small percentage of the overall rape, crimes under POCSO and child
slashed from `459 crore to `45 crore. budget. Child protection has seen an trafficking are substantial and account
Also, the allocation by the Ministry of overall increase from 1.21% to 1.49% of for 81% of the crimes committed against
Tribal Affairs for an umbrella scheme for the child budget. The Integrated Child children. The total number of cases
28 JUNE 24, 2017 vol lIi nos 25 & 26 EPW Economic & Political Weekly
COMMENTARY

recorded under these heads is also rising children are seen only as the future Notes
sharply, indicating that special attention of our country and not our present, 1 Census of India 2001: Population Projections for
India and States 200126.
is needed to combat these crimes. With- little will change for Neha Birhor and
2 CRY analysis of union budget based on official
out adequate investment in prevention, other children in this remote corner of budget documents.
the rising trend of crimes against chil- Jharkhand. The quality of food and other 3 According to government records updated until
March 2015 (http://icds- wcd.nic.in/icds/Qpr-
dren is unlikely to be reversed. services will continue to be poor, and 0314forwebsite23092014/currentstatus.htm).
the anganwadi worker will keep strug- 4 Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC)
Conclusions gling to make the best of the meagre Report No 282, December 2016.
5 UDISE (Unified District Information System
For the last 15 years, allocation to resources available. for Education): School Education in India
the child budget has been around 3% A more thoughtful budget could make (201516).
6 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB),
of the union budget, but as we have a substantial difference to the quality of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of
seen, this is insufficient. As long as our these childrens lives. India.

Economic & Political Weekly EPW JUNE 24, 2017 vol lIi nos 25 & 26 29