From the Viewsroom

For our children’s sake

Preeti Mehra | Updated on January 07, 2020 Published on January 07, 2020

The Budget shouldn’t compromise on allocation for education

Minus budgetary support, even the best blueprint is not worth the paper it’s drawn up upon. This holds true for any welfare strategy or nation-building scheme. This is perhaps the reason why the annual Budget, to be presented in Parliament on February 1, is looked forward to with much expectation. Whether the government will match the enthusiasm it showed while framing the policy when it finally announces the monies allocated is, as always, the big question? Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 — set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 — are those that pertain to poverty and hunger alleviation, universal healthcare, access to potable water, sanitation and education.

According to the 2015 population database of the UN, with 242 million of its population in the 10-24 years age-group, India has the world’s highest population of young people. For those transitioning from adolescence to adulthood in the next decade, education will be a key component for overall development. Unfortunately, budgetary allocation for children has not received the priority it needs. In fact, post the 2015-16 Budget, the share set aside for the young has remained stagnant at 3.3 per cent. This will not do if India is to strengthen its child nutrition programmes, comprehensive intervention schemes for adolescent girls, campaigns to prevent child marriages or meet the SDG goal of providing free education for all up to the secondary school level by 2030.

A note on the expectations from Budget 2020 submitted by Child Rights and You to the Finance Ministry not only presses for higher budgetary allocation for children, but also stresses the need for sharper focus on quality secondary school education. It notes that the spike in the dropout rates — 4.13 per cent at the primary level and 17.06 per cent at the secondary level — is a cause for concern since completion of secondary education has become essential in a fast-changing digital world.

One hopes these concerns of the young and growing India are addressed in this year’s Budget. After all, our children are our future.

Published on January 07, 2020
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