Maneka Gandhi Is Right: Funds For Critical Nutrition, Health Schemes Cut 51%

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Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. Image: PIB

 

In February 2015, the budget of the women and child welfare ministry was cut by about half, from Rs 17,949.85 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 10,286.73 crore for 2015-16.

 

Women and child welfare minister Maneka Gandhi sparked a controversy earlier this week after telling Reuters that her departments were struggling, her observations interpreted as criticism of her own government.

 

“We still have problems because our cut has still not been restored,” she told Reuters. “Literally, it’s a month-to-month suspense on whether we can meet wages.”

 

Gandhi is right. Factchecker.in found that the budget for women and child development has been cut by 51%.

 

There has been a steep decline in funding for schemes run by the ministry like integrated child development scheme (ICDS) and Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG).

 

Cut In Budget Allocations For Welfare Schemes
Items Actual 2013-14 Budget 2014-15 Revised 2014-15 Budget 2015-16
Ministry of Women and child development 17,949.85 21,100 18,500 10,286.73
Total Child welfare 38.21 19,509.5 17,612.8 8,844.7
Total women welfare 0 601.5 383.9 452.23

Source: Budget 2015-16; figures in Rs crore

 

There has been a 49% decline in child welfare budget from Rs 17,612.8 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 8,844 crore in 2015-16.

 

The budget for women welfare saw an increase of 17% in same period, from Rs 383.9 crore to Rs 452.23 crore.

 

Less Money For Child Development, Girl Empowerment
Schemes Actual 2013-14 Budget 2014-15 Revised 2014-15 Budget 2015-16
ICDS 16362.56 18321 16590.3 8471.77
RGSEAG 602.44 689.65 628.3 0
IGMSY 305.71 528.91 394.45 516.01

Source: Budget 2015-16; figures in Rs crore

 

Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), a programme that offers supplementary nutrition to children, saw its budget cut by half from Rs 16,590.3 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 8,471.7 crore for 2015-16.

 

Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG), a scheme focused on providing nutritional needs of adolescent girls from the age of 11 to 18 with take-home rations, saw no allocations in budget 2015-16.

 

The Indira Gandhi Matritiva (Motherhood) Yojana, focused on paying women on who lost work days due to pregnancy, saw an increase in allocation.

 

The central government has cut funding for health, education and welfare under the assumption that the states shall fill in this gap.