Budget allocation for social security schemes disappointing: Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi

GUWAHATI: Congress Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi on Monday criticised Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for “cutting” the budget allocation to social security schemes for children under the ICDS programme.

Writing a letter to Sitharaman, Gogoi said that the number of drop-outs from schools has increased in recent times due to the lockdown and the pandemic.

“Mid-day meal scheme has proven to be an incentive for students to attend school, these cuts are not only alarming with regard to child nutrition but also with regard to education.

“In a situation where the government should endeavor to ensure retention and incentivise re-enrolment in schools, the budget allocations are immensely disappointing,” he said.

The senior Congress leader said the mid-day meal scheme has witnessed a decrease to Rs 11,000 crore compared to Rs 13,215 crore in 2014-15.

“While these cuts are a reason of grave concern in any year, what the backdrop of National Family Health Survey-5 and the pandemic make them are deplorable sights.

“In light of the aforementioned, I urge you to reconsider your stance on child welfare and economic support provided to such schemes. Especially, in the backdrop of the pandemic, the government should not paralyse the existing welfare mechanisms by starving them for revenue,” Gogoi said.