Experts from the health, education, and rural development sectors on Monday suggested a dedicated fund for the protection of children, a policy to encourage healthy food habits, and more financial allocation for secondary-level schools.
The main areas of discussion at the 10th Pre-Budget Consultation meeting were related to improving efficiency in the delivery of health services; devising innovative ways to reach primary healthcare facilities to marginalised sections; and improving learning outcomes at primary level while also making secondary and higher-level education accessible and affordable, among others, said an official release.
The 10th and final Pre-Budget Consultation meeting was chaired by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and was attended by senior government officials.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to present the Union Budget in February.
The experts discussed benefits of child budgeting; collection of gender disaggregated data by a national mission; broadening, expanding, and strengthening of the PDS; land titles for women; changes in general procurement guidelines to include disabled-friendly technology; and waiver of tax on assisted technology for disabled persons.
According to the release, they also suggested the setting up of a dedicated national fund for protection of children, eradication of child labour, a policy to encourage healthy food habits with measures like higher taxes on ‘sin products’, better compliance with the Right to Education Act, and employment generation with skill-matching for youth in urban areas.
Representatives from Rashrtiya Sewa Bharati, Right to Education Forum, SEWA Bharat, Save the Children, Right to Food Campaign, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO India, Help Age India, CRY-Child Rights and You, UNICEF, The Hans Foundation, and Action Aid Association, among others, participated in the meeting.
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)