Bringing child-centric issues and relevant policies in focus, for the first time in India, Karnataka government presented a ‘Child Budget’ on Thursday. Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said this budget, as a special feature, consolidates all the policies and programmes for the development of children aged below 18. It has 279 programmes with an allocation of ₹36,340 crore, which constitutes 15.28% of the total volume of the State Budget.
The Child Budget lists a range of issues — survival, protection, and development — from different departments. The maximum funds in this Budget are from the Department of Primary and Secondary Education and the Department of Women and Child Development. Experts feel that this kind of budgetary focus will facilitate better programme monitoring and expenditure on child-centric issues.
The Chief Minister also announced modernising Mahila Supplementary Nutrition Production and Training Centres, aimed at better nutrition at anganwadi centres. “To enhance the production capacity by modernising these centres, it is proposed to provide interest-free loan from ₹15 lakh to ₹20 lakh under the Marginal Loan Scheme of the Karnataka State Women Development Corporation,” he said.
It was also announced that youngsters who are discharged from Bala Mandiras after 21 years will be given a financial assistance of ₹5,000 a month for a maximum of three years under the ‘Upakara’ scheme. Skill Development Training will also be provided to these young men and women.
The government will repair 842 anganwadis damaged in floods last year at a cost of Rs 138 crore.
Another interesting announcement that was made was about bag free classes. Two Saturdays a month, school students in Karnataka will attend classes free from a load of school bags. “By making two Saturdays a month as bag-free days, ‘Sambhrama Shanivara’ will be observed with the objective of creating a joyful learning experience by reducing the burden of textbooks,” stated the Karnataka CM. There will be an effort to create awareness, through a range of activities, on topics that are necessary for students to be ideal citizens.