- The Union Budget presented in the Lok Sabha had some announcements regarding women-led initiatives and child protection services.
- In India’s growth story, particularly in the rural economy, the role of women is a very important story.
- Finance Minister said that the government wishes to encourage and facilitate this role of women. The Government has been supporting and encouraging women entrepreneurship through various schemes such as MUDRA, Stand UP India and the Self Help Group (SHG) movement.
- Swami Vivekananda had said: “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing”.
- The Women and Child Development Ministry saw a 17.7% increase in its budgetary allocation, to Rs 27,584 crore during 2019-2020.
- The total budget under the Mission for Protection and Empowerment of Women was increased to more than Rs 1,300 crore.
- The budget annouced expanding the interest subvention scheme for women self help group (SHG) to all districts in India.
- Announcement was also made allowing loans of up to Rs 1 lakh for one woman in each self help groups (SHGs) across the country.
- Furthermore, for every verified women SHG member having a Jan Dhan Bank Account, an overdraft of 5,000 shall be allowed.
Stand-Up India Scheme:
- The scheme has delivered enormous benefits, with the country witnessing emergence of thousands of entrepreneurs from women and also from the SC/STs.
- The Scheme would be continued for the entire period coinciding with the 15th Finance Commission period of 2020-25.
Commitee to assess gender allocation:
- Gender analysis of the budget aimed at examining the budgetary allocation through a gender lens has been in place for over a decade.
- Now the government proposed to form a broad-based Committee with Government and private stakeholders to evaluate and suggest action for moving forward.
- The allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), a maternity benefit programme, was more than doubled to Rs 2,500 crore.
- Under the programme, Rs 6,000 is given to pregnant women and lactating mothers for the birth of the first living child.
- Working women hostels got a two-fold hike at Rs 165 crore.
- For schemes on the safety of women, Rs 500 crore has been set aside for the Nirbhaya Fund.
- The allocation for the Mahila Shakti Kendras has been increased to Rs 150 crore.
- The allocation for the National Creche Scheme was also enhanced from Rs 30 crore to Rs 50 crore, which will enable working women to safely leave their children in crèches while they are away at work.
- The budget for Ujjawala, a scheme for prevention of trafficking, rescue and rehabilitation of the victims, has been increased from Rs 20 crore to Rs 30 crore.
- Similarly, the budget for widows’ homes was increased from Rs 8 crore to Rs 15 crore.
Announcements for the benefit of children
- The allocation for the Child Protection Services programme under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) was increased to Rs 1,500 crore from Rs 925 crore.
- Anganwadi services have seen an 11% hike in their grant to Rs 19,834 crore.
- The National Nutrition Mission, which strives to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low-birth weight babies and aims to benefit 10 crore people across the country, was allocated Rs 3,400 crore.