Bangladesh first saw the unveiling of ‘child budget’ in FY 2015-16
Md Fazle Rabbi Miah, deputy speaker of the House, said there is no clear information to determine if the budget allocated for children is being spent accordingly.
“Unveiling a child budget for the first time in Bangladesh during the last tenure of the Awami League government was a remarkable measure for the betterment and protection of children,” he said.
“But, we barely know if the budget is properly spent on them. And, if so, how is the sum utilized?” the deputy speaker questioned.
He made the statement at the IPD Conference Hall on the parliament premises on Wednesday.
He was attending the opening meeting of the newly formed parliamentary caucus for child rights as the chief guest.
The caucus of the 11th Parliament primarily consists of 25 members, including 15 lawmakers, but its size will be expanded later.
Bangladesh first saw the unveiling of a “child budget” in the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16.
The budget for the current fiscal year was increased to Tk65,650 crore, up from Tk55,900 crore in FY 2017-18.
Insisting on constituting a separate department for children, Fazle Rabbi Miah said: “It will be easier to know about the spending of the child budget if such a department is in place.”
The deputy speaker also hoped that a children affairs department would significantly reduce the number and severity of crimes against children, as it will bolster monitoring.
“The upazila level officials of the women’s affairs department remain busy with the welfare and complaints of women. It is difficult for them to make time for children,” he observed.
He urged the lawmakers to create mass awareness about child rights in their own constituencies.
“I believe they can succeed in stopping torture, rape and killing of children, the way they did with child marriage, by raising awareness through mass rallies and programs,” he said.
Md Shamsul Haque Tuku, president of the caucus, said: “The people can undoubtedly rely on the child budget when it comes to protecting child rights.”
He also said the government gives highest priority to children. He said coordination among ministries, government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) can contribute to ensuring child rights.
Aroma Dutta, vice-president of the caucus, said the civil society and NGOs can play a bolder role in establishing child rights.
“The citizens, too, have to step forward in this regard and treat it as a priority issue since the Sustainable Development Goals are greatly focused on child rights,” she said.
Aroma, also a rights activist, suggested that the corporate sector engage itself in the matter for a better outcome.
Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum organized the event, which was addressed, among others, by its Chairman Khawja Shamsul Huda, and Md Israfil Alam, a member of the caucus.