KSCF Urges More Funds for Rehabilitation of Distressed Children in New Budget Amid A Five-Year Decline

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The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation is a global thought leader for prevention of exploitation and violence against children, working at the grassroots level.

There had been a 31% decline in the budgetary allocation for rehabilitation of child labour and child bonded labour in the last 5 years: KSCF

Syed Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — A study conducted by The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) has shown that there had been a 31% decline in the budgetary allocation for rehabilitation of child labour and child bonded labour in the last 5 years i.e, 2014-15 to 2018-19 under the National Child Labour project and the central sector scheme for rehabilitation of bonded labourers, a development that has impacted severely the relief and rehabilitation of the released child labourers including those released from bondage across states.

“With the Union Budget due to be presented tomorrow (Friday) by the Finance Minister, KSCF has appealed to the Finance minister to allocate more resources for the welfare and rehabilitation of released child labourers,” the organization said in a statement.

Recently, KSCF had released a research study ‘Child Labour: Know More’ and has delved into various aspects of the issue of child rights like the rising pattern of cases under CLPRA (Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, which has increased by 509% in 2017 as compared to 2016. 

Instead of a commensurate increase in budgetary allocation to provide relief and rehabilitation to the victims, the budget saw a steep curtailment over a period of last five years, impacting the relief and rehabilitation.

The total government budget for rehabilitation of child labour consists of two heads – [NCLP] National Child Labour Project (including grants-in-aid to voluntary agencies and reimbursement of assistance to bonded labours under the ‘Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer-2016’)

Analysing the budgetary allocations for the last five years, the researchers calculated a fall of 31% in budgetary allocation under NCLP and Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers-2016.

As per 34th Standing Committee report on Demand for Grants (2018-19) of the Ministry of Labour, the government allocated 92% of total funds for NCLP and 8% for rehabilitation of bonded labour. Assuming this distribution ratio between the two schemes for three consecutive years (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19) KSCF research team has calculated the budgetary allocation for these three financial years.

The total budgetary allocation for rehabilitation and relief for 2016-17 was at Rs.140 crore (Rs128 crore for NCLP, and Rs12 crore for bonded labour scheme), for 2017-18 at Rs.160 crore (Rs147 crore, Rs13 crore) and for 2018-19 at Rs.120 crore (Rs110 crore, Rs10 crore). The total budgetary allocation in the last three years stands at Rs420 crore in which NCLP head expenditure was Rs.385 crore and bonded labour rehabilitation at Rs35 crore.

Total number of children rescued/withdrawn from work/rehabilitated and mainstreamed under NCLP stands at 2,39,755 in three years (2013-16), according to an unstarred question from Lok Sabha in 2017.

In 2013-14, number of children rescued were 64,050, in 2014-15 the figure was 1,16,629 children and in 2015-16 it was 59,076. The average number of children rescued/withdrawn from work per year has been estimated to 80 thousand and the minimum budget required for rehabilitation of these children under NCLP will be 160 Cr. However, against the requirement only Rs110.0 core has been allocated under the scheme in 2018-19 budgets. 

The report also notes that in addition to the minimum budgetary requirements for rehabilitation, there is a further reduction in the allocation for funds for other operational costs like salary, monitoring costs, maintenance and administrative costs and so on.

“Without having spent the allocated funds on each of these aspects, the protection, prosecution, and prevention processes in eliminating child labour can never be wholly achieved,” the report notes. 

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