Budget for children’s welfare inadequate

Bhaktapur, January 26

Though Nepal has made commitments to protect child rights at many international forums, the government has failed to allocate enough budget for the upliftment of the poor, impoverished and homeless children.

According to a report, seven ministries altogether have allocated just 4.85 per cent of their total budget for the welfare of the impoverished and homeless children in the country.

Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction allocate certain per cent of their budget for the children’s welfare under various headings. Of the total budget of the country, 18.73 per cent budget was allocated to these seven ministries this fiscal.

Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare allocated only 0.17 per cent of its total budget for children this fiscal against 0.25 per cent budget allocated in the previous fiscal. Of the total budget of these seven ministries, two per cent budget is separated for child protection, 54 per cent for education, 18 per cent for social security, participation and other activities.

“Eight-six per cent of the budget was spent in teachers’ salary, school infrastructure building, teaching materials, library, etc.,” said Meghanath Sharma, under secretary at the Ministry of Education. He further said the Ministry of Education did not separate specific budget for children welfare.

“Budget allocated for children allocated by these ministries is decreasing compared to earlier years,” said Madhav Pradhan, a child rights activist.  A total of 15.12 per cent budget was allocated for children in the fiscal 2015/16 while it was 12.62 per cent in 2016/17 and only 4.85 per cent in this fiscal.

“The tendency to allocate less budget for children suggests that the government is becoming less sensitive towards children’s issues,” said Pradhan.