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Child Budgeting

CHILD Protection & Child Rights » VIII. Child Budgeting


"We will score another 'first' this year. A statement on child related schemes is included in the budget documents and Honourable Members will be happy to note that the total expenditure on these schemes is of the order of Rs. 33,434 crore..." - P.Chidambaram, Budget 2008-2009 Speech

Child budgeting is a tool whereby one can examine the true commitment to child welfare and child protection programmes a government has for any given fiscal year. It lets you take stock of the development strategy a country prescribes to and the recourse gaps in meeting its commitments. India's allocation of funds towards child welfare can be seen as poor when compared to other countries with smaller child populations. Budget analysis also allows one to view which part of the child welfare has been neglected. Hence child budgeting is a tool for examining state administration and plans in order to hold it answerable.

In 2000, a child rights organisation called HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, begun an analysis of the last ten years of union budgets with relation to child welfare programmes. The 1990's was a period of major change for children in India with changing economic policies and globalisation. Hence HAQ felt the need to examine the financial and resource commitments that government had made towards the welfare of children in the country. Since the 2001 decadal report, HAQ has released a budget for children (BfC), analysis of the union budget every year.

In addition to the work done by HAQ, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF and Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) released a five year analysis of the union budget covering 2001-02 to 2006-07.

The constitution of India lists topics or the jurisdiction of both central and state governments. Topics such as education and registration of births/deaths fall in the concurrent list indicating that both governments are responsible. Under the seventh schedule, article 246 of the constitution there are 97 topics in the Union list, 66 topics in the State list and 47 topics in the Concurrent list. To plan for topics in the state and concurrent lists each state also composes a State Budget. Many programmes for children are run directly by state governments and hence to get a complete picture of India's commitment it is essential to examine state budgets as well. In 2002 HAQ recognising this fact, began analysis in three states: Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Orissa. State budget for children is done in partnership with a local NGO or organisation, where methodology is guided by HAQ but the analysis and advocacy is done by the partner.

The Indian Council of Child Welfare (ICCW), Tamil Nadu also conducted a state budget analysis for children under their Information, Documentation and Research Centre (IDRC). The analysis covered six years of state budgets from 1998-2004.

The next section an overview of each of the above reports:

The World Bank too has created a document on public spending on the child, which was published in their report, "Reaching out to the child: An integrated approach to child development", in September 2004.