Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments allocated more funds than the Punjab government for health, education and social welfare sectors in the 2013-14 budget, said experts on Thursday.
“The Punjab allocated Rs 85,048 million, Sindh Rs 101,654 million and KP allocated Rs 86,600 million for programmes related to children’s needs,” they said at a consultation organised by the Child Rights Moment Punjab.
They said the budgetary allocation for child-specific programmes in the Punjab had been low in four years from 2010-11 to 2013-14.
But the situation is better in education and social welfare sectors, they said.
“Of the total education budget in 2013-14, 89.64 per cent was allocated for children specific programmes, projects and activities. The allocation in 2010-11 was 77.65 per cent of the total education budget.”
They said the Punjab had allocated “extremely low” amount for children specific health initiatives and programmes in 2010-11. This has gradually increased in the subsequent years; it was 15.13 per cent, 17.85 per cent and 15.58 per cent in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively.
In the Punjab’s budget, social welfare received scant attention and within the social welfare budget, children specific programmes and initiatives received extremely low attention, according to the experts.
Amer Eijaz from the Center for Peace and Development initiative said the provincial government had to allocate more funds for children specific programmes such as establishment of schools and public health dispensary in villages.“There is need to improve accounting and budget procedures by including children specific allocations.”
Child rights activist Iftikhar Mubarik said the government should announce an education emergency in the province and allocate maximum funds to bring seven million out of school children to schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2014.
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