Reduction in allocation for child welfare fund in Labour Ministry may lead to rise in child labour and child trafficking
New Delhi: Bachpan Bachao Andolan expresses concern over the drop in allocation for child welfare fund in Labour Ministry in the budget presented in the Parliament. There is a reduction of 33% in this year’s budgetary allocation for labour ministry in comparison to last year. The reduction in budgetary allocation for labour ministry is expected to hamper the progress in achieving an important objective of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-2025) of making “child labour free World”. United Nations has set a target of achieving child labour free world by 2025, with India having world’s largest share in child labour. This drop might lead to rise in child labour and child trafficking cases in the country. The reduction in allocation for Labour Ministry has seen a consistent drop since 2021-22 when it was Rs.120 crores, in 2022-23 budget it was reduced to Rs. 30 crores, while budget for 2023-24 has allocated meagre Rs.20 crore.
The government has increased the total budgetary allocation for child welfare by 12%, which is a positive sign. The budget though has increased allocation for Education Ministry by 12% but fails to make special provisions for providing free education for all girls for up to 18 years age, which will adversely affect the country’s fight against child marriages. Bachpan Bachao Andolan has praised the new scheme “PM SHRI (Schools for Rising India)” introduced in this year’s budget. The scheme will be implemented over a 5 year- period, and intends to develop more than 14,500 PM SHRI Schools which will cater to more than 20 lakh students and will enable the government in implementing the National Education Policy (NEP 2020).
However, Bachpan Bachao Andolan-founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has welcomed the increase in allocation in the budget for “National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (NAPDDR)” policy by 56%, which is expected to boost the fight against rising menace of drugs in the country. Similarly, the budget allocation for Tribal Affairs has seen a sharp increase of 162%, which is positive.
Dhananjay Tingal, Executive Director of Bachpan Bachao Andolan said, “There was much expectation from this year’s budget with regard to the welfare of children. The budget had some positive points but some other provisions could have been better. In order to achieve SDG 2025 objectives, the country has to make huge efforts, where the government has a bigger role to play. To end evils like child labour, child trafficking and child marriage, the role of Labour Ministry and MGNREGA schemes is important and the allocation could have been enhanced”.