01/10/2017, 14.25
INDIA

Online petition calls for more funding for India’s children

Santosh Digal

The campaign was launched on change.org. India has about 442 million children out of a population of 1.2 billion, but only 4 per cent of the Union budget is goes for them. “It is good, let us support it,” says Catholic activist.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – An online campaign has been launched to get the Union (federal) government to allocate more money to child development, this in a country where children represent 37 per cent of the population.

The petition has been launched ahead of next month’s budget on the online advocacy platform charge.org in order to mobilise support and raise awareness about the precarious conditions in which millions of children live. The latter need more resources for their psychological and physical development.

"The online petition demanding more funds for children's development is a noble cause,” Catholic social worker Jugal Kishore Ranjit told AsiaNews. “It is good, let us support it. It is about children's rights to development, survival and dignity.”

Titled Invest in Us - India's Children, the petition reads: “Invest in us today to give us a better future! Make India’s children a priority while budgeting for 2017-18. Pledge your support by signing this petition and give us an equal opportunity to fulfill our dreams.”

So far, 2,400 people have signed it with the aim of 2,500. Once that number is reached, it will be delivered to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

India has about 442 million children. There are 908 girls for every 1,000 boys, and many suffer from discrimination and backward conditions.

Some 80 million children are not in to school, 36 million are illiterate, 97 million are anaemic and undernourished, 7.5 million are differently-abled, 24 million will be out of home care by 2020.

Some 33 million are child labourers, 12 million marry before the age of 18, and a child is victim of a crime every 5 minutes.

Despite the size of India’s child population, activists complain that only 4 per cent of the federal budget goes to them.

Speaking from the children’s perspective, the petition insists on the need for “adequate financial resources and appropriate spending to transform our status of education, health, nutrition and protection, especially for the most disadvantaged and marginalised.”

The Indian Parliament is set to vet the Union budget on 1st February.

For Valson Thampu, former principal of St Stephen's College, Delhi, Prime Minister Modi should focus on child education, especially in rural and tribal areas.

A Delhi-based child advocacy NGO, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, said that the share of the Union budget for children rose to 3.32 per cent in 2016- 2017, a slight increase from 3.26 per cent in the previous fiscal year.

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