Union Budget 2021: A Primer

Sectoral Provisions: Women & Child Development

MinistryFY 20-21 (RE) (Rs.In Crores)FY 21-22 (BE) (Rs.In Crores)Increase /Decrease (% over RE)
Ministry of WCD21,00824,43516.31%

Key Highlights (Allocations, Schemes & Announcements etc.)

A total of 24, 435 crores have been allocated to the ministry for year 2021-2022. Its lesser than the budget that was earmarked in the last budget where the total allotted budget was 30007.10 crores out of which 21008.31 crores was spent. The government, this budget has restructured several centrally sponsored schemes as per the recommendations of 15th  Finance Commission of rationalizing and bringing down the number of centrally sponsored schemes. Under this several schemes under the ministry of WCD have been clubbed together under umbrella schemes.

  • Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0 (Umbrella ICDS – Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyan,
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls, National Creche Scheme)- With a budget allocation of Rs 20105 crores
  • Mission VATSALYA (Child Protection Services and Child Welfare Service) with a budget allocation of 900 crores
  • Mission Shakti (Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women) has a total budgetary allocation of Rs 3109 crores and has the following sub components
  • SAMBAL (One Stop Centre, Mahila Police Volunteer, Women’s Helpline/Swadhar/Ujjawala/Widow Homes etc.) with a budget allocation: Rs 587 crores. The Ujjawala scheme under this is a scheme for prevention of Trafficking and aims to rescue, Rehabilitation, Re-integration and Repatriation of victims of Trafficking for commercial Sexual Exploitation.
  • SAMARTHYA (Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Creche, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana/ Gender Budgeting/Research/ Skilling/ Training etc.) with a budget allocation of Rs 3109 cr.

Implications and Analysis :

The supplementary nutrition programme and the Poshan Abhiyaan has been merged to launch Mission Poshan 2.0 to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcome. Though there has been a 16 percent rise in the allocation of the budget for the ministry, it remains to be seen how much of that money actually gets utilized. Last year the difference between the budget estimates and the revised estimates was about 9000 crores.  Since this time the government has clubbed several expenditure heads under umbrella schemes like SAMBAL, SAMARTHYA, VATSALYA, individual allocations to programmes like Beto Bachao Beti Padhao, Ujjwala scheme to prevent trafficking are not given.

Sectoral Provisions : Child Protection

  • Child Protection has always been under resourced despite rising child protection concerns.
  • The child protection sector witnesses a massive reduction of funds with an allocation of Rs. 1089.36 Crore in the current Budget, which is 42.85 per cent less than the last year.
  • As per NCRB’s Crime in India Report, 2019, every 8 minute a child goes missing in the country. Child Care Services and Child Welfare Services have been merged under Mission Vatsalya, which has received only Rs. 900 Crore in the current budget. The budget for ICPS in the Union Budget 2020 – 21 was Rs. 1500 Crore. The much reduced allocation of Rs.900 will be a blow to the entire child protection services in the country.
  • In Re Contagion of COVID-19 Virus in Child Protection Homes, the Supreme Court noted that 227518 children were in child care institutions before the pandemic and 148788 children have been restored to their families and other foster care homes due to the pandemic. The Supreme Court reiterated that educational needs of those children who have been restored needs to be assessed. The Court also directed the District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) to recommend to the State governments to grant financial aid to the tune of Rs. 2000 per month per child for children restored to parents/guardians for the purpose of their education. The Court further directed the State Governments to provide necessary infrastructure, stationary, books, printers and other equipments for children to attend online classes as well as extra classes if necessary to those inside the child care institutions.
  • The decline in the budget for child protection services is seemingly bind to the Supreme Court’s directions leaving the states to grapple with a huge child protection pandemic.
  • The New Indian Express reported on 11th July, 2020 that the state government of Kerala recorded 68 child suicides during the lockdown. Reports of child suicides from Kolkata and Ludhiana have also emerged during the period. Children as young as nine years of age have been seen to commit suicide and, though research is still scarce on the matter, domestic violence and stresses at home are considered a central reason behind such tragedies. Will the current allocation for child protection services be able to address such emerging concerns?
  • The allocation for the National Child Labour Programme (NCLP) continues to be Rs. 120 Crore, similar to that in the financial year 2020-21 despite being revised and brought down to Rs. 50 Crore at the RE stage last year. However, as various media reports highlight that child labour has seen a sharp increase during the pandemic, the scheme deserves greater impetus and backing of financial resources.

Children’s issues have been juggled around once again, slipping from one major head toanother, witnessing mergers, declined allocations as well as complete disappearance. While the COVID-19 situation demands higher allocations and optimal utilization of resources, what we find is huge cuts in flagship programmes for children. The insistence on improving infrastructure instead of condition of human lives seems to be the chosen path for NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.


Courtesy: Chase- India & Haq