Bhopal: The women in the state are concerned about the state Budget presented in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. They believe that the Budget contains only figures of the expenditure and programmes launched in the financial year 2020-’21. It has less of allocations for the coming financial year and more of promises, they say. The finance minister has only wrapped a new gift paper over the old programmes and has offered no tabulated plan of action to hit the track, they feel.
Monika Jain, an entrepreneur who runs a science and research organisation in the tribal areas, said the Adivasi Balika Vigyan Yojana announced for tribal girls across the state was age-old. The finance minister, Jagdish Devda, has no set of plan on how the state is prepared to reach out to the girls. There has been no fund allocation for the scheme, she says. She, however, said that the transportation programme for rural students was commendable.
Jain said that the expectations from any Budget were an increased employability factor. The 2021-’22 budget has no solid employment scheme for women or youths, she says.
As many as 24 residential schools will be converted into Eklavya wards and will be affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education. The government has put out a target to build 65 residential schools for girls across the state as declared in the previous Budget. Twenty-two of them were set up in the financial year 2020-’21 and 43 are yet to be made.
Akriti Uike, a Scheduled Tribe law graduate from DAVV and a resident of Balaghat, says the tribal hostels that run in the state are disappointing. They have no proper food or accommodation facilities, says Uike. Opening of new residential schools will be of no help if the old ones are not fit to live in, adds Uike.
Devda took credit for the government over 3.8 lakh families being connected with self-help groups in 2020-’21, but offered no target for the next financial year. He said the government had quadrupled the funding for self-help groups to Rs 1,165 crore. A self-help group worker from Hoshangabad, Kavita Rajput, says the funding that self-help groups have received so far in the past year can help no SHG worker. They were deprived of their salaries during the entire Covid-19 lockdown period.
The government has also announced 33 lakh connections in the entire state under the Nal-Jal scheme so that the rural women may not have to go miles to fetch water.
Women fear reaching out to police stations
Counsellor Neeta Papsule says the programme to open women police stations is commendable. However, the government should open ‘secret’ centres from place to place in the state to help women open up without the fear of being caught or being shamed, says Papsule. Most women prefer not to go to police stations, she adds. The cities that already have women police stations are also not so free of crime against women, remarks Papsule.