SOS India demands dedicated fund from Budget 2018 to promote health and education of girl child

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New Delhi: On the occasion of National Girl Child Day, SOS Children’s Villages of India demands an increase in the health and education budget allocation, with a dedicated fund for the healthcare and education of girls between 6-14 years of age.

While elaborating on the demand, Anuja Bansal, Secretary General, SOS Children’s Villages of India, stated, “First, given the benefit, education has on society, we seek a minimum 5% allocation towards the same, which should be equally split between girls and boys. Developed countries, which have a more mature education system and higher levels of GDP, have been generously spending around 4.5 to 6 of GDP on education sector. As a developing nation with ambitious demographic dividend, India must ensure that it invests well in shaping the future of the girl child, seed of the future generations.”

Among children, girls, in particular, find themselves in vulnerable situations, as they often end up as victims of violence, given the inequalities around gender in our society. In rural areas, they mostly struggle for access to basic health care, nutrition and education.

Bansal added, “Secondly, access to healthcare also plays an important role in ensuring the future of the girl child while addressing her vulnerability. Therefore, we seek an increased budget allocation of at least 1.5% more (to the tune of INR 50,000 crore from last INR 48,853) than the last year’s allocation, which we, as a part of the social development sector, believe is a very humble expectation.”

Thirdly, SOS India seeks reinstatement of Section 35 AC of the Income Tax Act, which offered 100% tax exemption for donations made towards some of the eligible social welfare schemes and programmes. This way, with the increased fund at disposal, social organisations can bring in larger focus to benefit the girl child, in particular.