New Delhi [India], Feb 6 (ANI): Keeping in line with Government's fiscal consolidation path, the Union budget has been a pro farmers and common man budget with a lot of focus towards rural development, farm sector and healthcare.
The budget prioritized social development as its key agenda including health and education with major announcements by Finance Minister on National Health Protection Scheme and RISE initiative for Higher Education. However, there has been a negligence from the government towards child education and healthcare which forms a major segment of quality education and healthcare in India.
"The decision of the government's Ayushman Bharat Program of increasing availability of drugs and diagnostics to reach all 1.5 lakh health centres will be of benefit to women. Childbearing women need to often pay out of pocket for these services in case they are not available. With better availability of drugs and diagnostics and general investment of 1200 crore to overall healthcare is bound to raise demand for services. It is hoped that these monitoring investments will lead to overall improvement in the quality of maternal and child health services and lower Infant Mortality Rate and maternal mortality rate, so that we meet SDG 3.2 in the near future," said executive director, Centre for Catalyzing Change, Dr. Aparajita Gogoi.
Sharing slight disappointment due to the lack of focus of government towards child healthcare and education, Komal Ganotra, the Director of Policy Advocacy and Research at CRY - Child Rights and You said, "This Union Budget has prioritized social sectors including health and education, with grand announcements by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley such as National Health Protection Scheme and RISE initiative for Higher Education.
However, the same does not hold true for India's 472 million children. The total Budget for Children remains stagnant at 3.23 percent with 79088 crore allocated for children over last year's allocation of 71305 crore (an 11 percent increase)."
"The Finance Minister categorically recognised the need for moving towards achieving quality education as well as strengthening inclusion in public education through increased numbers of Eklavya schools. Also with the allocation of 2925 crores, the National Nutrition Mission seems to have taken off which is a positive indication. What is crucial here is that a vision for transforming the currently restrictive child protection framework and budgetary allocations for the same seems to be missing," Komal Ganotra further added.
"It was encouraging to know that loans to women self-help groups are expected to increase to 75,000 crore by FY 2018-19. This clearly indicates that women are feeling empowered and confidently participating in decision making role in the areas of family planning, children's marriage, buying and selling property, and sending their children to school," said Secretary General, SOS Children's Villages of India, Anuja Bansal.
"The FM announced the world's largest government funded healthcare programme with Rs. five lakh annual cover per family for 10 crore poor families. Under the Aayushman Bharat programme, the Govt. allocated Rs. 1200 crore for setting up of 1.5 lakh centres, while increasing access to health facilities. Also, to increase the digital intensity in education, Rs. 1 lakh crore is allocated to revitalise and upgrade education sector, which can contribute immensely in building a robust socio-economic infrastructure. The above incentives will also mean that care for the parentless and abandoned children will gain momentum; we are firm in our resolve to serve for the cause," added Bansal. (ANI)