TomorrowMakers

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has allocated Rs 30,000 crore for women and child development in the Union Budget for 2020-21

What’s in the store for women in Budget 2020?

The Union Budget announced on February 1, 2020, laid emphasis on a number of initiatives for women and children. Numerous government schemes saw a monetary boost. The focus was on educating the girl child, providing better nutrition to women and children, offering better infrastructure, ensuring safety for women, and preventing trafficking, among other things.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman revealed that Rs 30,000 crore has been set aside for the Women and Child Development Ministry, a 14% increase over the previous year. A major part of the amount, Rs 20,532 crore, is for anganwadi services, a rural childcare programme.

Related: What is Mahila e-Haat initiative?

1. Initiatives for women

Marginalised pregnant women in India do not get the right care or have the means to ensure safe delivery. To help them, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) in 2016. This is a maternity benefit program for pregnant and lactating women aged 19 and above for the first live birth. 

PMMVY provides Rs 6,000 to each eligible woman to compensate for loss of wages during childbirth and childcare. The money is intended to help provide the right conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition. The budget for this scheme has been increased from Rs 2,300 crore to Rs 2,500 crore.

Related: Here is what New Maternity Benefit Act has in store for women?

The total budget under the Mission for Protection and Empowerment of Women has been raised from Rs 961 crore to Rs 1163 crore.

One Stop Centre, a government programme that strives to provide a range of services to women, has got funding to the tune of Rs 385 crore, up from Rs 204 crore in the last budget. This scheme helps women who are victims of violence and sexual assault by providing medical aid, counselling, police assistance, and legal aid.

Other programmes covered in the budget include Working Women’s Hostel Scheme (Rs 150 crore), Mahila Shakti Kendras (Rs 100 crore), National Creche Scheme (Rs 75 crore), and Ujjawala (Rs 30 crore). The latter works towards the prevention of trafficking, and rescue and rehabilitation of victims.

2. Initiatives for children

Poshan Abhiyan has been the main focus of the Women and Child Development Ministry. It aims to provide the right nutrition for infants and small children to boost their growth. With Rs 3,700 crore allotted in this budget, it will work towards reducing stunting of children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ project, which works to save girl children from infanticide and educate them to become thriving members of society, also got a boost. This project championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been allocated Rs 220 crore.

Related: 6 Government initiatives to support girl child

The budget presented by the Finance Minister has spelt out a clear objective to further uplift and empower women and children to ensure an equal and inclusive future for them. 

Have a look at how the government is working towards the protection and upliftment of girl child in Indian society through these five schemes

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