Increase funding for protection, healthcare and education in Budget: Child rights bodies

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Child rights bodies on Friday urged the government to increase funding in this Union Budget for protection, healthcare and education of children to improve the country's child development index.

Child rights NGO Save the Children and Child Rights and You (CRY) submitted their recommendations to the Finance Ministry in the pre-budget consultation meet last month.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Budget 2020 on Saturday.

Increasing public funding for Child Protection Services from 0.9 to 1.5 per cent of GDP, budget for integrated child protection scheme and enhancement of budgets for open shelters were some of the recommendations submitted by Save the Children.

The other recommendations were to increase public funding on education to at least 6 per cent of GDP and on health to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2021.

CRY recommended investing in a robust secondary school education system, building the pre-primary school education system and emphasising ground action on reduction of child malnutrition.

Ensuring comprehensive interventions for adolescent girls and a systemic approach in preventing child marriages were some other recommendations.

Save the Children, in a statement, said low public funding has left child protection mechanisms weak and cases pending and highly under-reported.

'The education system of India continues to focus more on primary education with substantially higher number of primary schools as compared to upper primary and secondary levels of schooling,' it said.

Puja Marwaha, the CEO of CRY, said she hopes that the Union Budget 2020-21 will show a positive intent for the child, both in letter and spirit. Children need a safe, protecting and enabling environment in which they can learn, grow and develop to their full potential.

'As the coming decade will possibly see the biggest cohort of India's children slowly move into adulthood, therefore, giving them a strong present and a solid foundation for the future is the need of the hour, and the current budget needs to be aligned with the promises made by the nation in this regard,' she added. PTI UZM UZM DPB DPB