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Rs. 1.38 lakh crore for health, education and social protection, against Rs. 1.22 lakh crore last year, is a welcome step.

Out of the 50 crore intended  beneficiaries of the health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh, at least 20 crore are going to be children who need much  more care and nourishment to fight off intergenerational morbidity and other inherited health problems. Save the Children welcomes this landmark announcement which, if implemented, will dramatically improve the health of India’s 40 crore children and their families.

In our experience, social protection cover shouldn’t remain only to entitlement but implementation needs a lot of focus given the multi-dimensional diversity of India.

To be effective in reaching out to the most deprived and assisting them in accessing Social Protection Schemes by developing a sustainable model, there is need to devise a mechanism where Community Based Organisations (e.g. Village Organisations formed under Livelihood Mission) take the lead, raise demand and hold to account all the service providers. Also, enhancing child sensitivity among parents, caregivers and key service providers to ensure that increased incomes from various interventions in the project will result in better outcomes for children who needs to be budgeted and taken up in a campaign mode. Social protection cover can create envisaged impact only with better convergence at the ground levels in support of the marginalized.

Save the Children awaits a fuller analysis of the budget and its annexures, however, the absence of a targeted mention of girl child protection (except Beti Bachao Beti Padhao) is a little disappointing as the safety of our girls is in peril.  Similarly, we hope that the Revival of Infrastructure in School Education(RISE) scheme will take care of the nitty-gritty of funds allocation and proper implementation that has impeded the implementation of the RTE Act.

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