News

Harini claims 25% Budget funds cut for women/children 

BY Pamodi Waravita

National People’s Power (NPP) Parliamentarian Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said yesterday (16) that the 2022 Budget, which was presented in Parliament last week, has made an approximate 25% cut in its funds allocation towards women and children, whereas defence was being prioritised.

“The Women and Children’s Bureaus face a 25% budget cut in this Budget. This is a problem that has been recurring for years. In 2020, the Budget only allocated 0.22% of the entire Budget towards this subject. In 2019, it was only 0.39%, in 2018, it was only 0.12%, and in 2017, it was only 0.15%. For years, our budgets have only been able to allocate less than 1% towards our women and children. On the other hand, this year, 21.12% is allocated in the Budget towards defence. This leads us to ask as to what exactly our priorities are,” she queried. 

She said that although women account for 56% of the country’s population, not even 1% of funds are allocated in the Budget towards women. 

“What then is our policy or vision towards women? During the Covid-19 pandemic, women faced many forms of domestic abuse. However, there are only seven safe homes in the entire country for women who seek protection from abusive situations. This year, 307 women have sought their services. There is a great need for safe houses but these safe houses cannot protect women or children properly because they don’t have proper facilities,” noted Dr. Amarasuriya. 

She claimed that this Budget, similar to other traditional budgets, does not provide any long-term solutions to the political problems that the public face, as the Budget has been formulated to continue the system where the public rely on politicians for their solutions. 

The 76th Budget reading began last week and the vote on the second reading of the Budget debate will take place on 22 November. The third reading will take place from 23 November onwards for 16 days, following which the final vote will take place on 10 December.