Should ‘inclusion’ not include Children?
While presenting the Union Budget for 2013-14, the finance
minister presented a budget with three faces in mind, faces that supposedly ‘represented the vast
majority of the people of India.’ “The first is the face of the woman… the second the face of the
youth… and third the face of the poor,” he said, during his speech. It is pitiful that over 42% of
India’s population who are children, do not seem to have the face that ‘represents’ the
The percentage of child budget within the allocated budget
continues to be around the 4% mark, for many years now. In absolute numbers, allocation for children
has increased from 71703 crores (BE) for 2012-13 to 77820 crores (BE) in 2013-14. But the overall
percentage has decreased from 4.8% to 4.67%.
What is sadder is that, among
the allocation for children, education is 71.6%, health 3.3%, child development and nutrition 24.2%
and protection a mere 0.7% of the overall 4.6%. With recent debates over juvenile justice and the
reported increase of crimes by and against children, it cannot be explained why the government has
reduced allocation for child protection from 400 crores to 300 crores. Dr Jayakumar Christian, CEO
and National Director, World Vision India points out that “Our children continue to be rejected and
treated as ‘non-representative’ faces of the country. It is imperative that the nation’s progress
and development start with its children”.
India’s malnutrition continues to
be the shame of the nation. And with almost half of our country’s children being stunted (45%), the
allocation for Women and Child Development Ministry remains at a mere 1.2% of the total expenditure.
And ICDS and SABLA together have 18285 crores.
The 12th Five Year Plan
Outlay for health is 268,551 crores. But this doesn’t seem to be even faintly reflected in the
budget provision for the health sector.
A recent report pointed out that
the international aid to India on healthcare (around $700 billion) was only a fraction of what
government spent. With one of the least government public spending on health (1.4% of GDP), the
burden of sustaining their healthcare is already heavily on the poor in our country. 70% Indians
spend their entire income for accessing quality healthcare and for buying medical drugs. Every year,
39 million are pushed into poverty just because they had to spend or borrow money for financing
their healthcare needs. It is high time the government increases its health spending to plug the gap
between international aid and government spending on healthcare.
government is aiming for an inclusive growth, the very process of budget preparation has to be
inclusive of all sections of society from across the country and not just the corporate lobbyists
and representatives based on proximity to the capital. The budget preparation process should engage
civil society organisations, non government organisations who know grass root realities. Says, Dr
Christian, “if inclusion was one of the objectives of the budget exercise, should not listening to
the grassroots be essential rather than be left to chance?”
cannot afford to exclude its children from its budget and policy priorities when they talk of
‘inclusive growth’. Growth naturally and unfortunately ‘excludes’ the vulnerable and favours the
bold and the beautiful. It is imperative that we as a nation be intentional about inclusion first
and then about growth.
World Vision India is a Christian
humanitarian organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and
communities living in poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion,
caste, race, ethnicity or gender. Spread across 174 locations in India, World Vision works through
long-term sustainable community development programmes and immediate disaster relief
For media queries or a
child-focused perspective on the Budget 2013, please contact:
Pradeep Daniel, World Vision India
99401 92290 | email@example.com