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Child rights NGOs unhappy with budget allocation for education, health


New Delhi : Most child rights organizations say the union budget has been disappointing as demands for better fund allocation for primary education and health care have not been met.

Dipankar Majumdar, director of Child Rights and You (CRY), an international child rights organisation, said Tuesday that while many aspects of the budget were heartening, “it is disappointing that child rights, education and health have not been given their due importance”.

“Though there are many steps in the right direction, in areas critical to children’s rights, education and health and protection, the budget allocations are much below par. CRY has been calling for 10 percent to be spent on health and education,” Majumdar told IANS.

Similarly, Arupjyoti Das, who works in an NGO focussing on primary education of slum children, said: “It’s very disappointing that despite long standing demands for increasing the total public spending on education to at least six percent of the GDP, it has not been addressed.”

“Of course, other initiatives such as easier loans to students of economically weak families is a good step. But primary education should be a priority as well,” Das said.

Nearly 300 NGOs and other grassroot organisations had come together to demand higher budgetary allocation to health and education before the budget was presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in parliament Monday.

Oxfam India, the Indian arm of the international NGO, said the budget has failed to live up to the expectations of providing “inclusive growth and equitable development”.

Nisha Agarwal, CEO of Oxfam, said: “It is a budget focusing again on the kinds of policies and programmes that have delivered high growth during the last decade but have failed to reach the poor and minority groups, and have thus exacerbated the already high levels of inequalities that exist in India.”

“There was hardly any mention of basic education in the finance minister’s speech, which is disappointing. The national expenditure on education has remained around three percent of GDP, our public spending on health at less than one percent of GDP remains amongst the lowest in the world,” she said.

“The foundation of inclusive and equitable growth has to be a society that provides free and quality education and basic health care services to all so that the poor can also avail of the opportunities created by high growth and improve their lives and livelihoods,” Agarwal said.