New Delhi: Parliamentarian Rajeev Chandrasekhar has written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking an enhancement of budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, specifically in the areas to ensure child safety against abuse.
The letter, also signed by members of the National Coalition to Protect Our Children (NCPOC) viz. Indian Law Society - Pune , FXB Suraksha India, Sahayam Intervention Centre, Counsel to Secure Justice and Delhi Public School, International, Vasant Kunj highlighted that the budget allocations for the Ministry has been reducing year on year.
MP Chandrasekhar sought the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s urgent intervention in securing extra funds for strengthening the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the judiciary, the police and other institutions that are involved in ensuring a swift and effective response to the issue of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
He said India’s 676 districts will require Rs. 2 lakh per month per district to start the proposed counselling services within the District Child Protection Units, which are the first point of contact for children who have faced abuse.
"The infrastructure costs associated with strengthening DCPUs alone, is estimated at Rs. 162 crore. An additional Rs. 35 crore is needed, at the rate of Rs. 1 crore per state/UT, for monitoring and awareness generation on CSA," he said.
The members of the NCPOC, urged Jaitley for his immediate intervention and to allocate an additional Rs.197 crores suitably for this purpose.
Further, the schemes launched to address a range of wider child protection centric issues, including malnutrition, right to education, health, child protection and to support disadvantaged groups - the scheduled tribes and castes - have also faced significant cuts.
In the letter, the members of the NCPOC, requested that Budgetary allocations for the Ministry of Women and Child Development, especially for strengthening institutions involved in fighting child sexual abuse must be suitably increased.
The mentioned that the Nirbhaya Fund was allocated Rs. 1000 crores in the last Budget and that the numbers of childern who were sexually abused were many more.
"The estimate that 53% of children experience sexual abuse means approximately 220 million children in real terms. Taking into account the extra vulnerabilities and difficulties in cases of child abuse - and concurrent increase in costs for investigating, prosecuting and rehabilitating - the overall expenditure is going to be higher in cases of children," the letter said.
The members also requested that funds for integrated child protection should be raised from Rs 500 crores to Rs.1500 crores.