Child Rights Movement (CRM) organized a seminar on budget analysis from child rights perspective at local hotel.
Khalil Ahmed, Program Manager, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) said that approximately 47% of Pakistan’s total population comprises of children under the age of 18. This population group should be our priority however, due to lack of will from policymakers; these children are deprived of their rights to survival, protection and development. He mentioned low spending on child rights as a key reason for Pakistan not meeting its international and national commitments towards child rights.
Amer Ejaz, Director Budget Study Centre, Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), alluded to Pakistan’s low ranking in some major global human development indexes. In 2019, Pakistan ranked 152nd out of 189th in Human Development Index, 151st out of 153rd in Global Gender Gap Index, 149th out of 176th in The Kids Rights Index and 147th out of 182nd in Global Childhood Report. He mentioned that there’s a direct relationship between the low spending and this low ranking. For example, Pakistan has the lowest budget allocation for education in South Asia and hence it also has 44% of total children out of school which is the second highest number in the world after Nigeria.
Ms. Afshan Tehseen, Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC), mentioned that major infrastructural reforms are required to uplift the living standard of Pakistan’s children. Whether it’s health and nutrition, hazardous labour, early marriages, trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation; significant reforms are required to ensure that rights of all children are protected and delivered.
She further added that the federal and provincial government must ensure that budgets for all children related indicators are released in time and are not subjected to random cuts. Budget allocations should also include a higher proportion of non-salaried rather than salaried expenditure and there should be increased focus on development budget in order to overcome the challenges in Pakistan. In addition, all the programming must respond to the damage caused by COVID-19 pandemic.